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An Illustrated Monthly 


Vol. LX1II 

Xonoon : 



l 9" Original from 


3-2,7- '1*3 



ACROSTICS; 92,122,196,293,385,504 


• Illustrations by A. Wallis Mills. 

"BAB BALLADS," LOST H. Rowland brawn and Rowland Grey. 105 

Illustrations from Facsimiles. 
BLIND MAN'S BUFF Hylton Cleaver. 454 

Illustrations by J. H. Thorpe. 
BOOK I MOST ENJOYED WRITING, THE : A Symposium of Well-Known Novelists . . . . 240 

Illustrations from Photographs. 
"BOOK I SHALL NEVER WRITE, THE": A Symposium of Authors 489 

Illustrations from Photographs. # 

CATS THINK, DO? W.H.Hudson. 164 

Illustrations by Tom Peddie. 
CHANCELLOR, A SELF-MADE.— Sir Robert Horne's Meteoric Career .. Robert K. Risk. 464 

Illustrations from Photographs and Caricatures. 
CHAP UPSTAIRS, THE Roland Pet twee. 550 

Illustrations by W. E. Webster. 
CHINESE CABINET, THE C.N. and A.M. Williamson. 281 

Illustrations by W. Smithson Broadhead. 
COMRADE BINGO P.G. Wodehouse. 395 

Illustrations by A. Wallis Mills. 
CORNER IN WORMS, A William Caine. 181 

Illustrations bv H. M. Bateman. 
CREATURES OF HABIT E. Temple Thurston. 151 

Illustrations by W. Hatherell. 

"DEAR DUCKS" .. .. Lynn Doyle. 129 

Illustrations by Frank Gillett, R.I. 
DID KRESSLER KILL HIS WIFE? H. deVere Stacpoole. 57 

Illustrations by S. Seymour Lucas. 

Illustrations by Balliol Salmon. 
DOOB IN EUROPE, THE William Caine. 366 

Illustrations bv H. M. Bateman. 

Illustrations by Wilton Williams. 

EVASIVE PAMPHLET, THE A. S.W. Rosenbach. 520 

Illustrations by Dudley Tennant. 

FIGHTING SNUB RE ILLY Edgar Wallace. 21 

Illustrations bv Steven Spurrier, R.O.I. 

Illustrations bv W. R. S. Stott. 
FUNNY MAN'S DAY, THE -.. .. , .. Stacy Aumonier. 455 

Illustrations by Frank Newbould. 










Mi.wj| -i : #jy ^* u 




* '1CTOR 



Tlia Stiuiley Heulimnfl l! ,fitr ' 
M .fciiitttilc to Uiiw J"f j";'"^ 
Efrofll mill* and St^ifel Ujfc 
iS Upholstered 8*M ami 
looNs Curtil<m at h*<?k In Blue 
Jtruvn , Fn wp, Q r*e". t* rt:y . O E / 
.nt Fed Corduroy. ***** 


qn all 



Gt. Britain. 

HeriM* a Chair thAt you will be 

proud to own— a Chair that will 

give yoji years anil years of 

delightful Comfort and useful 

Service* Liberally Upholstered 

on a sturdy well- seasoned frame, with springy stuffing, 
and v ebbm E of thoroughly dependably *™Jjt«{_ the 
-Victor" is without qii^tion the finest Easy ^*! T * *|iie 
on the Market to-day, and wr, haro no hesitation in offer- 
™a it to ^u on approval terra*. If on arrival you are 
diKnatirf«l with the Chair it can be J re tamed and we will 
immediately refund your money. We pay carnage to 
any Station in threat Britain. 

PalUmt of Cove rf it j j ant free. 
*M**t ******** !*■***■*»!■* Width i.f ^rlW^ 

Width ol seat W I". 

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Tlio Stvlcraft Wankubo is * novel 
Hd inexpensive a„b,tilHte for the 
ordinary high-priced wooden Ward- 
Kiln It givoa identically the same 
servirt. at a fraction of this co*t P and 
impart* to the Bedroom an air of 
delightful f rtuhner* and charm. I on- 
aista of folding wood frame with 
bottom part. Hh«h\ and row of 
hooka. Draped in heautl- 
f nl Cretonne. Ea^ly dis- 
mantled. 8i*e 3 ft. wide, 
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carriage paid in Great Britain, 

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puitlni ny ™**K ct " l i ;- 
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wool uwt-trcH, «■" 5WB puiuwum*" 

.„ . wiv D.-I S M., SI. LONDON ROAD. 

n nnwKING & SONS, LTD., ^J london. s.e. — - 


* r v 




GIANT FIR-CONES, THE Harold Steevens. 494 

Illustrations by Ugo Matania. 
GOLD THAT GLITTERS Perceval Gibbon. 405 

Illustrations by E. G. Oakdale. 

Illustrations by A. Wallis Mills. 
GREEN BICYCLE CASE, THE H. Trueman Humphries. 136 

Illustrations from Drawings and Photographs taken on the spot. 

HEART-WHOLE „ ... Stacy Aumonier. 201 

Illustrations by Frank Gillett, R.L 
HOLMES, AUGUSTA, PIONEER Dame Ethel Smyth. 343 

Illustration by John Campbell. 

Illustrations by G. L. Stampa. 
HUMOUR, VISUAL.— Sights that Children Laugh At Dr. C.W. Kimmins. 294 

Illustrations by Tom Peddie. 


Illustrations by Wilton Williams. 

KEG, THE ~ ~ J.J-Bell. 349 

Illustrations by Frank Gillett, R.I. 


Illustrations bv S. Abbey. 

Illustrations from Photographs. 


I. — Temperament and Habits 414 

II.— Establishing Good Humour : Three Aids 534 

Illustrations by George Morrow. 
LIFT. THE .. A. Conan Doyle. 471 

Illustrations bv E. Verpilleux. 

Illustrations from Photographs, and Drawings by Howard K. Elcock. 

MAN WHO COULD NOT GET DRUNK, THE " Sapper " (H. C. McNeile). 187 

Illustrations by Balliol Salmon and W. R. S. Stott. 
MARRIAGE MAZE, THE Charles Kingston. 560 

Illustrations by A. K. MacDonald. 
MURDERER IN THE DARK, THE F. Britten Austin. 542 

Illustrations bv S. Sevmour Lucas. 

MUSTARD-POT: MATCHMAKER Gilbert Frankau. 112 

MUSTARD-POT: HOME-SICK .. .. Gilbert Frankau. 375 

Illustrations by Gilbert Holiday. 

PAINTING AS A PASTIME.— II The Right Hon. Winston Churchill. 13 

With Reproductions of his Paintings. 
PERPLEXITIES . . Henry E. Dudeney. 65, 163, 278, 372, 468, 541 

Illustrations from Diagrams. 

Illustrations by Robin. 
PROBLEM OF THOR BRIDGE, THE A. Conan Doyle. 95,211 

Illustrations by A. Gilbert. R.O.I. 

"RAFFLES" IN VIENNA Joseph Gotlomb. 67 

Illustrations bv E. Verpilleux. 


Horne, Sir Robert 464 

La very. Lady 3 J 7 

-?APPEk" AND0N <C\< fritjinalfronr ••»"*«» 

••Uigrtiz<jtfOyv_iUUgl^ " "uNIVERSITYOFMICHiGAN" 


iv. INDEX. 


SAINT FLOSSIE .. .. Perceval Gibbon. 223 

Illustrations by W. Smithson Broadhead. 

" SAPPER V IN MUFTI Sidney Dark. 197 

Illustrations trom Photographs and Drawings 

SCORING OFF JEEVES P. G. Wodehouse. 155 

Illustrations bv A. Wallis Mills. 


Illustrations from Photographs. 


II — The Kiss of Judas 3 

III.— The Menwood Road Bank Robbery 170 

IV. — The Honour of Monsieur Lutarde 265 

V.— The Three Malefactors 300 

VI.— The Winds of Death 423 

VII.— Seven Boxes of Gold 509 

Illustrations by Charles Crombie. 


Illustrations by A. Wallis Mills. 

The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing: A Symposium of Well Known Novelists 240 

Illustrations from Photographs. 

44 The Book I Shall Never Write " : A Symposium of Authors 489 

Illustrations from Photographs. 

" Dry-ups " and Unrehearsed Effects 218 

Illustrations by Wilton Williams. 

TENNIS, A LESSON IN LAWN A. E. Beamish. 505 

Illustrations from Photographs. 
TIGRE . . . . Zone Grey. 525 

Illustrations bv W. R. S. Stott and A. G. Small. 
TREASURE FROM THE EAST. A L. /. Bees ion, 310 

Illustrations by J. Devvar Mills. 
TRICKS I SHOULD LIKE TO DO .. David Devanl. 146 

Illustrations by Tom Peddie. 

UNFINISHED MASTERPIECE; THE The late Stephen Phillips. 450 

Illustrations by Ugo Matania. 

VALIANT, THE .. .. Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass. 72 

Illustrations by Ugo Matania. 


I.— Mainly Autobiographical ..32 

II. — Stories Against Mysflf ~ . , . . 3$ 

III.— The First Time I Conducted .123 

IV.— Accompanying at Windsor and Balmorai c .., ..126 

V.— In the Theatre ~ 257 

VI.— Potpourri , 260 

Illustrations by Bert Thomas. 


Illustrations from Photographs, and Drawings by Howard K. Elcock. 

Illustrations by Warwick Reynolds. 






The Vindication of Louis de Rougemont. 


rWENTY odd years ago The Wide World Magazine published 
a narrative that electrified the world— * The Adventures of 
Louis de Rougemont. 1 ' It was translated into every civilized 
language, and Louis de Rougemont became the most-talked-of man of 
the day. Almost immediately, however, his statements were attacked y 
and finally, certain discrepancies being discovered, the public concluded 
that he was an imaginative impostor. IV ell -nigh heartbroken t but stilt 
protesting he had spoken the truth, and that some day the fact would be 
revealed. De Rougemont disappeared into obscurity. During the long 
years that ensued, whenever his name cropped up, xt was always greeted 
with ridicule. Even when the poor old man died — in June of last year — 
some of his former critics thought fit to make final sneers at his veracity. 

And now, after close on a quarter of a century, comes his triumphant 
vindication — surety one of the most unique and dramatic incidents in the 
history of joutnaltsm ! 

The diaries and photographs of an important cinematograph 
expedition which has just returned from the far North-West of Australia, 
following practically in the wanderer's footsteps, prove indisputably that, 
in many of his most fiercely -criticized stories, De Rougemont told nothing 
but the truth ! The full story of these fascinating new discoveries will be 
found in the January Wide Worlu Magazine, which is now on sale 

by v^ 



Original from 



.(See page 12.) 





Sir Norman Greyes, the chief figure in this thrilling series of detective stories, 

having resigned his high position at Scotland Yard, makes a practice of 

studying the criminal world from the outsider's point of view. 

ON the evening of my return from 
the Riviera after a three months* 
holiday, I was accosted in the 
lounge of Marridge's Hotel by ri 
middle-aged man of inconspicuous appear- 
ance, who had been seated in a corner alone. 
It was some few seconds before 1 could 
recall him to my memory, but curiously 
enough a crowd of unpleasant associations 
gathered themselves together in my mind 
even before I recognized him. 

M You haven T t forgotten me and our golf 
down at Woking, Sir Norman ? " he asked. 
I knew all about him then. 
•* Mr, Stanfield, isn't it ? " I said, " No, 

I haven't forgotten," 

I was a few minutes early for my party, 
and I accepted the offer of a cocktail from 
my golfing acquaintance, 

" That was an extraordinary interruption 
to our first game/' he remarked. " I never 
fancied my little house much afterwards. I 
gave it up, in fact, within the year. 1 ' 

"I heard you had left," I told him. 

II Have you still your model domestic ? " 

1 She left me soon afterwards/' he replied, 
regretfully. '* You had no luck in your 
investigations, Sir Norman ? " 

,H I had no luck at all," I confessed, 
" Yet I don't despair, I always have the 
fancy that some day or other I shall solve 
that mystery." 

The waiter brought the cocktails, and we 
raised our glasses. 

'• I drink, then, to that day, Sir Norman/ 1 
my companion said. 

" I am with you/* I declared, heartily. 

Vq t. I jf i i i . — 1. Cop yrig 


We talked idly of various matters for a 
few moments — principally of golf, which I 
had been^ playing regularly in the South of 
France. There were several dinner-parties 
being given in the restaurant that evening, 
and some very beautiful women were in 
evidence. One in particular attracted my 
attention. She was tall, and, though slim, 
beautifully made. Her complexion was 
perfect, although a little colourless. Her 
strange -coloured eyes had a nameless attrac- 
tion. Her hair was just the shade of brown 
which appealed to me. She bowed to my 
companion as she passed, and joined a little 
group at the farther end of the hall. The 
last thing I noticed about her was her 
wonderful string of pearls. 

** That is a very beautiful woman/* I 
romarked. " Do you know who she is ? >p 

+ ' A South American widow — De Mendoza, 
her name is/' 

" You know her ? " 

*" My humble apartment is on the same 
floor as her suite/' my companion replied. 
,+ She is gracious enough sometimes to 
remember the fact that we meet occasionally 
in the lift/' 

My friends arrived, and I made my adieu 
to my erstwhile gol ling acquaintance. Some- 
how or other, mv meeting with him had left 
an unpleasant impression behind it, It had 
forced my thoughts back to the humiliating 
recollection of the fact that the murderer of 
Richard Ladbrooke still remained undis- 
covered, and that the man who had called 
himself Pugsley had walked away from 
detection under our very eyes and never 
Phillip* o P p*ni^9Figinal from 


The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

been heard of since. Amongst my fellow- 
guests was an official of the Home Office, 
and our conversation naturally drifted into 
the subject of social order. 

" Your connection with Scotland Yard 
having long since ceased, Sir Xorhian," he 
remarked to me, " you will not be over- 
sensitive as to facts. The epidemic of crime 
which was raging about two years ago 
seems to have broken out again with exactly 
the same results. There are four undetected 
murders and five great robberies up to the 
debit of your late department. Your people 
believe that the same person is at the head 
of them who planned all those robberies 
eighteen months ago, and escaped arrest by 
shooting the inspector." 

I affected to take only a casual interest in 
the information, but, as a matter of fact, I 
was considerably maved. If the man who 
had last concealed his identity under the 
name of Pugsley, but whom I strongly 
suspected to be the notorious Michael 
Sayers, had really come out into the open 
once more, life would possess a new interest 
for me during the next few months. 

We were a party of six that evening — a 
celebrated criminal lawyer and his wife, my 
friend from the Home Office, with his wife 
and sister-in-law, and myself. The criminal 
lawyer, who wfc» r our host, heard scraps of 
our conversation, and leaned forward. 

" You did well to leave Scotland Yard' 
when your reputation stood high, Sir 
Norman/' he said. " A new era of crime 
has dawned, and the struggle is no longer 
equal. It isn't the riff-raff of the world 
to-day who take to murder and burglary. 
The skilled and conscienceless scientist has 
taken their place. The criminal of to-day, 
in nine cases out of ten, is of higher mental 
calibre than the detective opposed to him." 

14 The struggle should be the more inter- 
esting," I remarked, vaguely. 

It was a fancy of mine that my continued 
interest in my profession should remain as 
little known as possible, and 1 talked for 
some time on indifferent subjects to the lady 
who was seated by my side. We admired 
Mrs. De Mendoza and her gorgeous rope of 
pearls. My host intervened. 

" It is women like that," he commented, 
" who choose to deck their bodies with 
jewels of fabulous value, who encourage 
crime. Roughly speaking, I dare say that 
necklace is worth eighty thousand pounds. 
For purposes of theft it could probably be 
dispose^ of for fifty thousand. What a 
haul for the scientific thief ! If it is really 
true that Pugsley is once more at work, 
what an opportunity ! " 

" A woman must be very brave," my 
hostess declared, *' to run such risks." 

" The jewels are probably in the hotel 

safe most of the time," I suggested. " I 
don't suppose she goes out in them." 

Our host smiled. 

" I can imagine Pugsley finding a few 
minutes in the hotel quite sufficient," he 
observed. " He or his successors, whoever 
they may be, would think little enough of 
human life by the side of, say, fifty thousand 
pounds. The modern maxim of the thief 
seems to be all or nothing. By killing at 
sight they certainly increase their chances 
of escape." 


by CjOOgle 

r "p l HAT closed our conversation upon the 
subject. We sat about in the lounge and 
drank coffee and liqueurs, danced for a 
time, and smoked a few cigarettes. The party 
broke up as the lights in the lounge were 
being lowered. I was the only one of our 
little gathering remaining in the hotel, and 
I was talking for a few moments to the 
head-porter, who was an old acquaintance 
of mine, when a man made a somewhat 
hurried entrance through the swing-doors, 
and seemed on the point of proceeding to 
the office. As he saw me, -. however, he 
hesitated, and, turning aside, addressed me. 

" Excuse me, but are you Sir Norman 
Greyes ?.-" he asked. 

I admitted the fact. 

" Can I ask you to give me five minutes 
of your time on a matter of urgent busi- 
ness ? " 

He drew a card from his pocket and 
handed it to me. 

I stepped underneath one of the electric 
standards and looked at the card:— 

Mr. Stanley Delchester, 

and underneath was the name of a famous 
insurance company. I motioned him to 
follow me into the deserted lounge. 

" Many ; years ago, Sir Norman," he 
reminded me, " when you were officially 
engaged at Scotland Yard, you saved our 
firm a great loss in the matter of the Hatton 
Garden emerald theft." 

" I remember it quite well," I admitted. 

" We understand," my visitor continued, 
" that you have now resigned from the 
Force, but we hoped that you might be 
inclined to undertake a small commission 
for us. It came to the ears of our chief 
quite unexpectedly that you were staying 
here, and he sent me after you at once." 

" I can at least hear what the business is," 
I replied. 

" There is staying in this hotel," the insur- 
ance-agent proceeded, " a Mrs. De Mendoza, 
the reputed widow of a fruit-merchant in 
Buenos Ayres. She is the fortunate pos- 
sessor of a very wonderful pearl necklace, 
which she has insured with our firm for a 
hundred thousand pounds. Our acceptance 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 

1 Can I ask you to give me five minutes of your time on a rr.,i!}er cA urgent business "> " 


The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

of the policy was a grave error, which we 
recognized almost immediately afterwards. 
We know nothing of the lady, and in 
those circumstances it is against our busi- 
ness policy to accept the risk. We have 
done our best to protect ourselves, however. 
Since the policy wa§ issued we have kept in 
constant touch with the iady, and in daily 
communication with the hotel detective. 
By to-night's post, however, we had a 
message from the latter to say that he was 
at home ill, and that during his absence his 
duties would be taken, over by the night- 
watchman. The policy has only one more 
week to run, and will not, under any con- 
ditions, be renewed. We want to know if, 
for any fee which you care to name, you 
will do your best to guard the necklace for 
us during that week ? " 

" Have you had any intimation of thieves 
working in this neighbourhood ? " I asked. 

" None whatever," he replied. " I will 
be perfectly frank with you. It is not an 
ordinary robbery of which we are afraid. 
For some reason or other, our inquiry 
department has formed a dubious opinion 
of Mrs. De Mendoza herself/' 

" I see/' I remarked. " You are afraid of 
a bogus theft ? " 

*' Precisely ! Directly we received the 
letter from the hotel detective we rang up 
the manager here. All that we could learn 
was that the illness was altogether unex- 
pected, and that the man had been compelled 
to go home at a moment's notice. In reply 
to our request that a trained detective 
might take his place, the management 
assured us that they considered nothing of 
the sort necessary. No robbery of jewels 
had ever taken place from this hotel, and 
they considered their night-porter fully 
competent to watch over the interests of 
their guests." 

I considered for a moment. 

" Sir William Greaves, our manager, 
desired me to suggest a fee of two hundred 
guineas," my visitor concluded. 

" I will accept the commission," I pro- 

THE next morning I interviewed the 
manager of the hotel, to whom I was 
well known. He showed some irritation 
when I spoke of Mrs. De Mendoza's neck- 
lace and her nervousness concerning it. 

" To be quite frank with you," he con- 
fessed, " although Mrs. De Mendoza is a good 
client, and pays her accounts regularly, I 
am inclined to be sorry that we ever let her 
the rooms." 

" Why ? " I asked. 

" People with valuable jewellery should 
accept its possession with a certain resigna- 
tion." he replied. " This is the last hotel 

Digitized by Lit 

in London where a jewel robbery would be 
likely. The lady herself, I understand, 
takes every possible care and caution. She 
wears her necklace nowhere except in the 
restaurant and lounge, and every night it is 
deposited in the hotel safe. I cannot see 
that she has the slightest cause for anxiety, 
nor do I understand the nervousness of the 
insurance company. However, you may 
rely upon it, Sir Norman, that every facility 
will be given to you in your task. I would 
suggest that you pay a visit to the lady 

The idea had already occurred to me, 
and later in the day I sent up my card to 
Mrs. De Mendoza, and wjis at once invited 
to enter her sitting-room. I found her 
writing letters, simply dressed in a black 
nigligie and wearing the pearls. I was 
struck once more by the extreme elegance 
of her bearing and figure. As she turned 
and invited me to seat myself, she stirred in 
my memory a faint suggestion of remi- 
niscence. I was not sure even then, how- 
ever, whether it were a real person or a 
picture of which she reminded me. She 
listened to the few words with which I 
introduced myself, and smiled deprecatingly. 

" It is true that I am very foolish," she 
admitted, " but then, I have always been a 
person of superstitions. I have owned my 
necklace for some years, and I have had it 
with me in quite lawless places. I have 
never, however, felt just the same amount 
of apprehension as I do at the present 

" That certainly seems strange," I replied. 
" The servants at this hotel are more care- 
fully chosen than at any other hotel in 
London, and the guests are, in nearly every 
case, old clients.'* 

" Apprehensions such as mine," she said, 
" are not based upon reason. However, I 
must confess that I feel more comfortable 
now that the insurance company has engaged 
your services. Would you not like to 
examine the pearls ? " 

She came over to my side and, without 
unclasping the necklace, let it rest in my 
hands. The pearls were all marvellously 
matched, all of considerable size, and with 
that milky softness which she pointed out 
to me as being a proof of their great per- 
fection. As we stood there, necessarily 
close together, a wisp of her hair touched 
my forehead. Something in the timbre of 
her low laugh as she brushed it back induced 
me to look up. There were qualities about 
her smile, and the peculiar expression of her 
eves, which gave me a momentary thrill. I 
understood at once why men turned their 
heads always to look at her. 

" Do you admire my pearls ? " she asked, 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 

I let them slip from my palm. 
They are very wonderful/ 1 I admitted. 

She moved slowly away* I breathed mure 
easily as the distance increased between us. 
She looked over her shoulder unexpectedly, 
and I believe that she realized my sensation. 
The slight frown passed from her forehead. 
She was obviously more content. 

4 Tell me how you propose to guard my 
treasures, Sir Norman," she inquired, as she 
sank into an easy -chair. K Shall you stand 
behind my chair at dinner, disguised as a 
waiter, and He on my mat at night ? It 
gives one quite a shivery sensation to think 
oi such espionage ! " 

*' Believe me/' I assured her, * 1 shall not 
be in the least obtrusive, I understand that 
von send your pearls down every night to 
the hotel safe ? '* 

■ 1 have always done so/* she answered. 
* Du you think it would be better to keep 
them up here ? Will you promise to sit in 
this easy^chair, with a revolver on your 
knee, all night, if I do so ? *' 

" Not for the world/* I declared. "The 
hotel safe is much the better place/' 

'" I am glad to hear your decision/' she 
said, with a slight smile. " 1 should sleep 
very little if I thought that my pearls were 
near me — and that you were sitting here, 
on guard. The idea would be disturbing/* 

*■ One cannot guard against miracles/* I 
observed, ia but I think you can make your 
mind quite easy about the necklace. If 
you should need me at any time, the number 
oi my room is four hundred and thirty- two/' 

'On this floor ? " 

M On this floor/' 

"Tell me," she asked, a little abruptly, 
as I rose to take my leave, *' who was the 
man with whom you were talking last night 
in the lounge — a slim, middle-aged man 
with a verv hard face ? 1 am always seeing 
him in the lift." 

' A man I know scarcely anything of/* I 
replied. " His name, I believe, is Stan field. 
I once played golf with him down at Woking." 

" Stan field ? " she repeated. * Was it in 
his grounds near Woking that a murder was 
committed — a policeman was found shot 
there ? '* 

I nodded. 

" I was playing golf with Mr, Stan field 
at the time/' I told her. 

+H And the murderer was never dis- 
covered ? " 

' Never! " 

M I wonder you didn't take an interest in 
the case yourself/* she remarked. 

" I did/' I told her. 

She made a little grimace. 

* My fears for my necklace are 
reawakened, 1 ' she declared, *' Surely it 
ought to have been an easy task for a 

clever man like you, one who used to be 
called a really great detective, to discover 
the murderer ? " 

" It is beyond my powers to bring him to 
justice, at any rate/' I replied. ' There are 
many criminals walking about to-day oi 
whose guilt the police are perfectly well 
aware. They cannot be arrested, however, 
for lack of evidence /' 

1 How thrilling ! " she murmured, " Will 
you ask me to dine with you one night and 
tell me some of your adventures ? " 

i( 1 shall be charmed/' I assented, 


BOUT seven o'clock a note was brought 
into my room : — 

Dear Sir Norman t — 

A lady and her husband who were dining 
have disappointed tne> Can you, by any 
chance ; be my guest ? if so, let us meet at 
eight o'clock in the lounge.— Hopefully yours, 

Blanche De Mendoza. 

I scribbled a line of acceptance, I felt, 
as I descended into the lounge that evening, 
a premonition that life for the next few 
hours was going to be very interesting indeed. 

At eight o'clock precisely Mrs. Dc Mendoza 
came into the lounge. Her entrance made a 
mild sensation. Mr t Stan field, who was seated 
in his accustomed corner, drinking his cock- 
tail, watched our meeting and departure 
into the restaurant with obvious surprise. 

" The little man was there again, who 
stares at me so much — Mr, St an field, I 
think you called him ? " she remarked, as 
we took our places. 

I nodded. 

'" I dare say he was surprised to see us 
together," I said. '" I asked him who you 
were, on the night of my arrival here/' 

" Why ? " 

* J For the same reason that a great many 
other people ask the same question/' I 

She made a little grimace. 

" You are determined to pay me no 
compliments this evening, and 1 am wearing 
my favourite gown." 

" I admire your taste/' I assured hen 
J Anything else ? '* 
You are the best -dressed and the best- 
looking woman in the room." + 

' Too impersonal/* she complained. 

I turned the conversation to the subject 
of the necklace. The pearls were collected 
for her, she told me, by her husband, some 
in India, some in the Malav States, some in 
Paris, some in Rio. She spoke of him quite 
frankly — a prosperous fruit-broker who had 
achieved sudden opulence. 


The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

as for him," she remarked. " I was a 
typist in Buenos Ayres before we were 
married. 1 have known what it is to be 

She answered all my questions without 
reserve, and I began to feel that I had been 
mistaken with regard to her, We took our 
coffee in the lounge afterwards. In the back- 
ground, my golfing friend, Mr. Stanfield, was 
seated, smoking a cigar in a retired corner, 
and having the air of studying everyone 
who passed. 

" He is quaint, that little man," my 
companion remarked once, as he glanced 
over towards us. " He reminds me of 
those impossible characters one reads about 
in magazines, who detect crime for the 
pleasure of it, and discover hidden treasures 
in absurd places." 

" He is, as a matter of fact," I told her, 
" a retired City merchant with a passion for 
golf — at least, that is what the golf secretary 
at Woking told me." 

The music was seductive, and presently 
we danced once or twice. In the ballroom, 
however, my companion showed, signs of 
renewed nervousness. The fingers of one 
hand were nearly all the time straying 
around her neck, as though to assure her- 
self that the necklace was still there. 
Presently she drew me away with an apolo- 
getic little laugh. 

11 I am quite mad," she confessed, " but 
I have a fit of nerves to-night. I am going 
upstairs early. Do you mind ? " 

" Of course not," I told her. *' Let me 
see you to the lift." 

" I am going to ask you to do more than 
that," she said, as we crossed the hall. M I 
am going to ask you to come up to my 
sitting-room and escort my maid down to 
the office when she takes my necklace there. 
As a reward, you can come back afterwards, 
if you will, and have a whisky-and-soda with 

" I shall be very pleased," I acquiesced. 

I RANG for the lift, and we ascended 
together to the fourth floor. She handed 
me her key, and I unlocked the door of 
her charming little salon. She pointed to the 
evening paper and an easy-chair. 

* Please make yourself comfortable for 
five minutes," she begged, looking back 
from the threshold of the inner room. " I 
shall just let Annette help me out of my 
gown. Then I will give her the jewel-case 
and she shall call for you." 

She nodded and disappeared. I stood for 
a moment looking after her. The door was 
closed softlv. I heard her call to her maid 
in the farther apartment. 

Those next few seconds seemed to beat 
themselves out in my brain, charged with a 

Digitized by dOOgle 

strange and almost amazing significance. 
I am convinced that I acted from impulse. 
There was nothing definite in my mind when 
from behind that closed door I conceived the 
sudden idea which prompted my action. I 
crossed the floor of the sitting-room and 
opened the door which led on, to the corridor. 
There was no one in sight, and it seemed to 
me that fewer of the electric lights were lit 
than usual. I stood there, every nerve of 
my body rivetefl upon an attempt at dual 
listening. I listened for the return of Mrs. 
De Mendoza, and I listened for the opening 
of either of her doors. Presently, what I had 
divined might happen came to pass. The 
door of her bedroom, in a line with the one 
behind which 1 was lurking, opened. I 
peered through the crack. Annette, the 
maid, a trim, dark figure, had crossed the 
threshold. She stood for a moment, 
listening. Then, without even glancing 
towards the sitting-room, she walked swiftly 
along the corridor and turned to the left 
towards the lift and staircases. In a couple of 
stealthy strides I, too, had reached the corner, 
and, peering round, watched her movements. 
To my surprise, she passed the lift and 
turned the other corner of the corridor 
towards the staircase. As soon as she was 
out of sight 1 followed. As I reached the 
farther angle every light was suddenly 
extinguished. There was a little gurgling 
cry, the sound of a heavy fall upon the soft 
carpet. In a second or two I was on the 
spot. I could dimly see where Annette was 
lying, gasping for breath, apparently half 
unconscious. By her side lay the jewel-case, 
open and empty. 

I did nothing for a moment towards 
raising any alarm. I bent over the girl 
and satisfied myself that she was not 
shamming — that she had, in effect, been 
subjected to a certain amount of violence. 
I glanced at the transoms over the doors of 
the bedrooms opposite. There were three 
of them between where I was and the turn 
to the lift. Suddenly the farthest door was 
opened, softly but not stealthily. A figure 
appeared and, leaning down, threw a pair 
of boots upon the mat. I suppose that I 
was dimly visible in the semi-gloom, for the 
man suddenly left off whistling and turned 
in my direction. 

" Hallo, there ! " he called out. 

I drew from my pocket the little electric- 
torch which I had been keeping in readiness, 
and flashed it upon him. It was my friend 
Mr. Stanfield, in striped yellow -and-white 
pyjamas, a cigarette between his teeth, his 
feet encased in comfortable slippers. 

" What the devil are you doing out 

there ? " he demanded. : - And who's turned 

the lights out ? " 

" Better turn them on, and you may see," 
"Original fro ill 


E, Phillips Oppenheim 

I replied. M There's a switch close to your 

He found it after a second or two's 
fumbling, and stared at us in amazement. 
The maid, with her lingers stilt to her 
throat, had recovered sufficiently to sit up, 
and was leaning with her back to the wall, 
ghastly white and moaning to herself. The 
empty jewel-case told its own story* 

" Jerusalem 1 " Mr. Stan field exclaimed, 
breathlessly. " A robbery ! " 

" Ring your bell/* I directed. 

He disappeared into his room for a moment, 
leaving the door open. Presently he re- 

" I've rung all three/ 1 he announced. 

" Then the wires have been cut/' I 
answered, pointing to the register lower 
down, which had not moved. " Go to the 
lift and see if you can get anyone." 

He was gone for about half a minute. I 
leaned down towards the girl, who was 
beginning to cry, 

" Did you see who attacked you ? Ip I 

" No/ J she sobbed. " All the lights went 
out suddenly. Someone came up from 
behind. I did not hear a sound — just the 
clutch at my throat and the choking/ 1 

(i Why did you not w T ait for me, or go 
flown by the lift ? " I demanded. 

She looked a little puzzled. 

M I never go by the lift/' she replied. 

" Why not ? " 

" Fred, the second -floor valet, generally 
meets me on the floor below/' she explained, 
reluctantly, " and " 

"I see/' I interrupted, "But didn't 
your mistress tell you to wait and go down 
with me ? M 

The girl seemed surprised. 

4 * My head is queer/' she admitted, 4I and 
1 cannot remember much, but madam said 
nothing to me except to tell me to hurry 

The silence of the corridor was suddenly 
broken, Mr. Stanfield reappeared, followed 
by a little army of servants and the manager. 

11 Send everyone away except two men 
whom you can trust/' I begged the Iatter r 
" Mrs. De Mendoza p s necklace has been 

There was a murmur of consternation and 
excitement. The manager selected two of 
the servants and dismissed the rest, He 
posted one by the lift and one by the stair- 
case, I explained in a few words what had 

" Do you think the thief has got away ? " 
he asked . 

" One cannot tell," I replied. " I want 
to know about these three rooms." 

He glanced at the numbers. 

" The farthest one is occupied by Mr. 

Stanneld/' he announced. *" The other two 
are empty." 

" You are sure that this one/' I asked, 
pointing to the door close to where we 
stood, 4+ is unoccupied ? " 

11 Certain/' was the confident reply. 
11 Take my keys and sec for 30m self." 

I was on the point of doing so when Mrs* 
De Mendoza appeared. She was clad in a 
wonderful light -blue wrapper, and the touch 
of excitement seemed to add to her beauty, 

" My necklace ! M she gasped. " Don't 
tell me that it is gone ! " 

" Madam/* the manager began, " I regrcl 
to say " 

' What were you doing, then ? " she cried, 
turning to me. " Do you mean to say 
that it was stolen whilst Annette was with 
you ? " 

" Annette was never with me," I replied, 
" She left your bedroom with the jewel-case 
without coming near the sitting-room/ 1 

" Is this true, Annette ? " her mistress 

*' But why not, madam ? " Annette 
faltered. " You said nothing to nie about 
going into the sitting-room. I did not know 
that monsieur was to accompany me." 

+ The girl is telling a falsehood/' Mrs. 
De Mendoza declared, angrily. 

" Could these matters wait for a moment?'* 
I intervened. " Our immediate task is to 
try and recover the necklace. I wish every 
one to leave this place — except you, sir," 
1 added, addressing the manager, ' and 

THE manager w*as a person of determina- 
tion, and in a moment or two the 
corridor w T as empty, Mr, St an field 
lingered on the threshold of his room. 

" Can I remain ? M * he inquired. H In a 
way I am interested t as my room is so near." 

The manager waved him back, 

" I desire to hear what Sir Norman has to 
say, alone/' he insisted. 

Mr r Stan field reluctantly withdrew. We 
first of all entered the room opposite to us. 
It was empty, and apparently undisturbed. 
There was a connecting door on the left. 

" Where does that lead to ? " I asked. 

The manager unlocked it. It led into a 
similar room, also empty. The room on the 
other side was Mr. Stanfield's, also con- 
necting. The outlook of all three was on 
to some mews. 

We withdrew into the first one we had 

" Will you lend rne that master-key of 
yours ? Jt I begged. 

The manager detached it from his chain 
and handed it to nieLf 

" If you should be instrumental in re- 
coveringf'Wie necklace, Sir Norman," he said, 


The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

' My necklace ! " she gasped, 4 Don't tell me that it is 

" the hotel authorities would appreciate all 
possible reticence in the matter,'* 

I nodded. 

" It is hard to keep anything out of the 
Press, nowadays/ 1 I reminded him, " but so 
far as 1 am concerned you may rely upon 
my discretion/* 

THE few days that followed were filled 
with hysterical and irritating appeals, 
complaints, and inquiries from Mrs, De 
Menrtoza hcrsr If, the insurance company, and 
t he m anagem e n t . No efforts on o u r part cout d 
keep the affair out of the newspapers, and 
the disappearance of the necklace became 
the universal subject of conversation. On 
the sixth day after the robbery, I felt that a 
brief escape was necessary. I proposed to 
Mr. Stan field, whom I met in the hall of the 
hotel, that wc went down to Woking and had 
a round of golf, an arrangement to which he 
agreed with avidity. We lunched at the club- 
house, and, as on the previous occasion, we 
played a careful and hard fought game. It 
was on the eighteenth tee when one of those 
unexplained moments of inspiration came 
to me which serve as the landmarks of life, 
We had spoken of that grim tragedy which 
had interrupted our first game. I thought 
of poor Ladbrooke lying there with a bullet- 




hole in his forehead ; Janet, the maid, 
serene and secretive, with the strange eyes 
and unruffled manner. The memory of 
these things came back to me as I stood 
there, with the wet wind fluttering in the 
lea% r es of the trees and Stan field filling his 
pipe by my side, and it seemed as though my 
faculties were suddenly prompted by a new 
vigour and a new insight. Supposing it had 
been the maid who had killed the prying 
stranger ! What was her motive ? Whom 
was she trying to shield ? Could it be her 
master ? And if her master's name were not 
Stanfield, might it not be Pugsley ? The 
two men were of the same height and build , 
and the on? thing which Rimmingtun had 
always insisted upon was Pugsley's genius 
for disguise. The pieces of my puzzle fell 
together like magic, and with them the 
puzzle of the necklace. I turned back to 
the tec, and I was suddenly conscious of my 
companions intense gaze. His eyes seemed 
to be boring their way into the back of my 
head. 1 knew that something in my face 
had given me away, 

u Your honour/' he said, tersely. 

I topped my drive miserably. My com- 
panion's drive went sailing down the course, 
and be halved the match in a perfectly -played 
four, We walked together to the club-house. 

Original from 

E. Phillips Oppenheim 


cone ( * * Madam," the manager began, ' 1 regret to say 

" A whisky -and -soda ? " I suggested. 

" I'll change my shoes first/' he answered, 
turning towards the dressing-room. 

I drank my whisky-and-soda, exchanged 
greetings with a few acquaintances, and paid 
mv bill. Then I went to look for St an field, 
I might have sparer! myself the trouble. He 
and the taxi had alike disappeared. I had 
to wait whilst they telephoned for another, 
and I travelled up to London alone. 

THE game was played out in quite the 
grand fashion. On mv arrival at the 
hotel, I found the representative of 
the insurance company waiting to see me, 
and I was told that Mrs. De Mendoza was in 
her room, Accompanied by the manager, 
we made our way thither. 1 think that 
she was well prepared for what was coming, 
or rather one part of it, She received us a 
little impatiently. 

" I have been waiting to hear from your 
firm all day," she said, addressing Delch ester 
" My jewellers who valued the pearls, and 
my legal adviser, have helped to make out 
my claim , I am anxious to know when I 
may expect your cheque/* 

' ' I am thankful to say, madam, that that will 
Tmt be necessary/ 1 the manager announced, 
stepping forward, " Here is vour necklace/' 

Digitized by dOOglC 

He handed it to her. She stared at it like 
a woman transfixed, There were no signs 
of joy in her face. She seemed, indeed, for 
the moment stricken with consternation. 

" When was it found ? " she demanded, 

'" A tout four o'clock on the morning after 
the theft." I told her. 

" But where ? " 

" If you will come with me/ 1 I replied, ' I 
will show you/* 

1 led the way down the corridor to the 
exact sjiot where Annette had been attacked, 
and opened the door of the nearest room, 
1 saw Mrs, De Mend o za start when she saw 
the heavy Ixvft which had been fitted to the 
communicating door, 

" I came to the conclusion/' I explained, 
+ ' that the theft was committed by someone 
hiding in one of these three rooms, and to 
the further conclusion that the necklace had 
been hidden on the spot/' 

H How did you guess that ? " she inquired. 

" Because the thief made a slight blunder/ 1 
1 answered. " For a single moment, as I 
stood by Annette's side in the darkness out- 
side, I saw a light flash out through the 
transom of this room, I must admit, how- 
ever," I went on, ,- that it took me four 
hours to find the necklace." 



The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

" Where was it, then ? " she asked, 

I turned up the rug. In one of the planks 
of the wooden floor was a knot. I took a 
little corkscrew gimlet from my pocket, 
bored through it, and drew it out. Then I 
made Delchester push his finger through. 
There was a hook fastened in the underneath 
side of the floor. 

" The necklace was hanging there," I told 
him. " I imagine it would have been found 
later on by someone making a point of 
occupying tliis room. As a matter of fact, 
I believe it was booked for the first week in 

" By whom ? " Mrs. De Mendoza de- 

" By Mr. Stanfield," I replied. " He is 
paying a return visit in June, and he appears 
to prefer this room to the one he is occupying 
at present. 

There was a brief silence. Delchester 
held out his hand. 

" We are very much obliged to you, Sir 
Norman," he declared. " Our insurance, as 
you know, expired at midday to-day. I 
need not say that it will not be renewed. 
I wish you all good afternoon." 

He took his leave. The manager appealed 
to me. 

" Sir Norman," he said, " there is a great 
deal in this matter which it is hard to under- 
stand. I hope that you will not consider it 
a case for the police ? " 

I turned to Mrs. De Mendoza. 

" Do you wish to prosecute ? " I asked. 
" There is a certain amount of circumstantial 
evidence which might be collected." 

" Against whom ? " 

" Against the gentleman whom we have 
known as Mr. Stanfield." 

She laughed scornfully. 

" That funny little man who sits about 
in the lounge ? I would as soon believe 
that you yourself were the thief, Sir Norman ! 
I have my necklace back, and that is all I 
care about," she concluded. 

THE manager departed, very much re- 
lieved. Mrs. De Mendoza beckoned me 
to follow her to her suite. Arrived in 
her sitting-room, she closed the door. She 
had rather the look of a tigress as she turned 
and faced me. Never was a woman born of 
more splendid courage. 

" And the epilogue ? " she asked. 
" I fear," I replied, " that the epilogue 
must be postponed. It was only to-day, on 
Woking golf links, that a certain little scene 
of eighteen months ago became recon- 
structed in my mind. I saw a motiveless 

crime explained. I realized by whose hand 
that bullet might have found its way into 
Ladbrooke's brain, and for whose sake." 

" Yet you let him go ! " she cried. 

" If I had dreamed," I said, slowly, " that 
it was possible for him to escape, even for an 
hour, I would have wrung the breath from 
his body first. As it is, I must admit that 
he has scored a trick. But you must 
remember, or perhaps you have yet to find 
out," I went on, " that the world where 
such a man can live is a very small place." 

" And what about me?" she asked. 
" From the moment when I heard that you 
had gone out with him alone, I could foresee 
what was coming. Yet I was not afraid. I 
waited for you." 

I looked at the necklace and shrugged my 

" It is hard to* leave a hundred thousand 
pounds," I pointed out, " and so far as you 
realized, the game was not up. Not a soul 
in this hotel knew that the necklace was in 
the manager's safe. Yet you had courage 
to remain and see the thing through. I 
admit that." 

She came a little nearer to me. The green 
lights in her eyes were soft. I felt the 
attraction of her as she meant me to. 

" Where I love," she said, " I have 
courage, and my love has every quality 
which the devil ever distilled, except con- 
stancy. Are you afraid of me, Sir Norman, 
because I killed a man who " 

" A confession," I muttered. 

She laughed. 

" No witnesses," she reminded me. " After 
all, it was you who once said that murder 
was the easiest of crimes. What you know 
and what I know will never take me. to the 
dock. Would you put pie there if you 
could, my enemy ? " 

I drew a little away. Her breath was 
almost upon my cheek, her lips had taken 
to themselves the curve of invitation. 

" I would put you there without a 
moment's hesitation," I retorted. " You 
killed a man in cold blood to shield a mur- 
derer and a criminal. The hand of justice 
is slow, especially where evidence is scanty, 
but in the end it grips." 

She laughed scornfully. 

" You speak in ignorance," she declared. 
" At least be friends," she went on, " until 
you can drag me to the gallows. I shot him 
with my right hand." 

She held out her left fingers. I raised 
them to my lips. 

" The kiss of Judas," I warned her. 

" You will need more than his cunning," 
she answered. 

Next month : " The Menwood Road Bank Robbery." 

Original from 


by t^iC 






* t-F U^ 

n-rLjrxr - 


Part II. 

I MUST say I like bright colours, I 
agree with Ruskin in his denunciation 
of that school of painting who " eat 
slate-pencil and chalk, and assure 
everybody that they are nicer and purer 
than strawberries and plums." I cannot 

pretend to feel impartial about the colours, 
1 rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am 
genuinely sorry for the poor browns. When 
I get to heaven I mean to spend a consider- 
able portion of my first million years in 
painting, and so get to the bottom of the 

by K*i 

Vesuvius, from Pompeii. 



Painting as a Pastime 

subject. But then I shall require a still 
gayer palette than I get here below. I 
expect orange and vermilion will be the 
darkest, dullest colours upon it, and beyond 
them there will be a whole range of wonderful 
new colours which will delight the celestial 

Chance led me one autumn to a secluded 
nook on the Cote d'Azur, between Marseilles 
and Toulon, and there 1 fell in with one or 
two painters who revelled in the methods of 
the modern French school, These were dis- 
ciples of Cezanne. They view Nature as a 
mass of shimmering light in which forms and 
surfaces are comparatively unimportant, 
indeed hardly visible, but which gleams and 
glows with beautiful harmonies and contrasts 
of colour. Certainly it was of great interest 
to me to come suddenly in contact with this 
entirely different way of looking at things. 
I had hitherto painted the sea flat, with long, 
smooth strokes of mixed pigment in which 
the tints varied only by gradations. Now I 
must try to represent it by innumerable 
small separate lozenge-shaped points and 
patches of colour — often pure colour — so 

that it looked more like a tessellated pave- 
ment than a marine picture* It sounds 
curious. All the same, do not be in a hurry 
to reject the method, Go back a few yards 
and survey the result. Each of these little 
points of colour is now playing his part in 
the general effect. Individually invisible, 
he sets up a strong radiation, of which the 
eye is conscious without detecting the cause. 
Look also at the blue of the Mediterranean, 
How can you depict and record it ? Cer- 
tainly not by any single colour that was ever 
manufactured. The only way in which that 
luminous intensity of blue can be simulated 
is by this multitude of tiny points of varied 
colour all in true relation to the rest of the 
scheme. Difficult ? Fascinating ! 

Nature presents itself to the eye through 
the agency of these individual points of light, 
each of which sets up the vibrations peculiar 
to its colour. The brilliancy of a picture 
must therefore depend partly upon the fre- 
quency with which these points are found on 
any given area of the canvas, and partly on 
their just relation to one another. Ruskin 
says in his " Elements of Drawing/' from 

The Valley ol the Brora, 




The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill 


MelU* Somersetshire. 

which I have already quoted. if You wjII not, 
in Turner's largest oil pictures, perhaps six or 
seven feet long hy four or five high, find one 
*pot of colour as large as a grain of wheat 
ungradated." But the gradations of Turner 
differ from those of the modern French 
school by hems gently and almost imper- 
ceptibly evolved one from another instead 
of being boldly and even roughly separated ; 
and the brush of Turner followed the form of 
the objects he depicted, while our French 

Digitized by dOOgle 

friends often seem to take a pride in directly 
opposing it. For instance, they would 
prefer to paint a sea with up and down 
strokes rather than with horizontal ; or a 
tree- trunk from right to left rather than up 
and down. This, I expect, is due to falling 
in love with one's theories, and making sacri- 
fices of truth to them in order to demonstrate 
fidelity and admiration. 

But surely we owe a debt to those who 
hove sn wonderfully vi rifted, brightened, and 



Painting as a Pastime 

illuminated modem landscape painting. 
Have not Manet and Monet, Cezanne and 
Matisse, rendered to pointing something of 
the same service which Keats and Shelley 
gave to poetry after the solemn and cere- 
monious literary perfections of the eighteenth 
century ? They have brought back to the 
pictorial art a new draught of joie de vi**re ; 
and the beauty of their work is instinct with 
gaiety, and floats in sparkling air t 

I do not expect these masters would par- 
ticularly appreciate my defence, but I must 
avow an increasing attraction to their work. 
Lucid and exact expression is one of the first 
characteristics of the French mind. The 
French language has been made the instru- 
ment of that admirable gift. Frenchmen 
talk and write just as well about painting as 
they have done about love, about war, about 
diplomacy, or F we may add, cooking. Their 
terminology is precise and complete. They 
are therefore admirably equipped to be 
teachers in the theory of any of these 
arts. Their critical faculty is so power- 
fully developed that it is perhaps some 
restraint upon achievement* But it is a 

wonderful corrective to others as well as to 

My French friend, for instance, after 

looking at some of my daubs, took me round 
the galleries of Paris, pausing here and there. 
Wherever he paused, I found myself before a 
picture which I particularly admired. He 
then explained that it was quite easy to tell, 
from the kind of things I had been trying tc 
do, what were the things I liked. Never 
having taken any interest in pictures till 
I tried to paint, I had no preconceived 

I just felt, for reasons I could not fathom, 
that I liked some much more than others. I 
w%s astonished that anyone else should, on 
the most cursory observation of my work, 
be able so surely to divine a taste which I 
had never consciously formed. My friend 
says that it is not a bad thing to know nothing 
at all about pictures, but to have a matured 
mind trained in other things and a new strong 
interest for painting. The elements arc 
there from which a true taste in art can be 
formed with time and guidance, and there 
are no obstacles or imperfect conceptions in 

On ihe Rancct near St. Mala, 
/"* Original from 


The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill 


The Terrace, Lyrnpne* 

the way. I hope this is true. Certainly the 
last part is true. 

Once you begin to study it, all Nature is 
equally interesting and equally charged with 
beauty. I was shown a picture by Cezanne 
of a blank wall of a house, which he had made 
instinct with the most delicate lights and 
colours. Now I often amuse myself when 
I am looking at a wall or a flat surface of 
any kind by trying to distinguish all the 
different colours and tints which can be dis- 
cerned upon it, and considering whether 
these arise from reflections or from natural 
hue. You would be astonished the first 
time yt 1 tried this to see how many and 
what beautiful colours there are even in the 
most commonplace objects, and the more 
carefully and frequently you look the more 
variations do you perceive. 

But these are no reasons for limiting one- 
self to the plainest and most ordinary objects 
and scenes. Mere prettiness of scene, to be 
sure, is not needed for a beautiful picture. 
In fact, artificially marie pretty places are 
very of ton a. hindrance to a good picture. 
Nature will hardlv stand a double process of 

Digitized by V_iOOgle 

beau tine at ion : one layer of idealism on top 
of another is too much of a good thing, 
But a vivid scene, a brilliant atmosphere, 
novel and charming lights, impressive con- 
trasts, if they strike the eye all at once, 
arouse an interest and an ardour which will 
certainly be reflected in the work which you 
try to do, and will make it seem easier. 

It would be interesting if some real 
authority investigated carefully the part 
which memory plays in painting. We look 
at the object with an intent regard, then at 
the palette, and thirdly at the canvas. The 
canvas receives a message dispatched usually 
a few seconds before from the natural object. 
But it has come through a post-office en 
route. It has been transmitted in code. It 
has been turned from light into paint. It 
reaches the canvas a cryptogram. Not until 
it has teen placed in its correct relation to 
everything else that is on the canvas or that 
has vet to he put upon the canvas can it be 
deciphered, is its meaning apparent, is it 
translated once again from mere pigment into 
light. And the light this time is not of 
Nature but of Art, The whole of this 
Original from 



Painting as a Pastime 

considerable process is carried through on the 
wings or the wheels of memory. In most 
cases we think it is the wings— airy and quick 
like a butterfly from flower to flower. But 
all heavy traffic and ah that has to go a long 
journey must travel on wheels, 

In painting in the open air the sequence 
of actions is so rapid that the process of 
translation into and out of pigment may 
seem to be unconscious. But all great 
landscapes have been painted indoors, and 
often long after the first impressions were 
gathered. In a dim cellar the Dutch or 
Italian master recreated the gleaming ice of 
a Netherlands carnival or the lustrous sun- 
shine of Venice or the Carnpagna. Here, 
then, is required a truly formidable memory 
of the ocular kind. Not only do we develop 
our powers of observation, but also those of 
carrying the record— of carrying it through 
an extraneous medium and of reproducing 
it r hours, days + or even months after the 
scene has vanished or the sunlight died. 

I was told by a friend that when Whistler 
guided a school in Paris he made his pupils 
observe their model on the ground floor, and 

then run upstairs and paint their picture 
piece by piece on the floor above. As they 
became more proficient he put their easels 
up a storey higher, till at last the £{%te were 
scampering with their decision up six flights 
into the attic — praying it would not evapo- 
rate on the way. This is, perhaps, only a 
tale, But it shows effectively of what 
enormous importance a trained, accurate, 
retentive memory must be to an artist ; and 
conversely what a useful exercise painting 
may be for the development of an accurate 
and retentive memory. 

There is no better exercise for the would-be 
artist than to study and devour a picture, 
and then, without looking at it again, to 
attempt the next day to reproduce it. 
Nothing can more exactly measure the pro- 
gress both of observation and memory* 
It is still harder to compose out of many 
separate, well-retained impressions, aided 
though they be by sketches and colour notes N 
a new complete conception. But this is the 
only way in which great landscapes have been 
painted — or can be painted. The size of the 
canvas alone precludes its being handled 

Ightham Moat 

by Google 

Original from 

The Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill 


out of doors. The 
fleeting light im- 
poses a rigid 
time - limit. One 
cannot go back 
day after day 
without the pic- 
ture getting stale, 
The painter must 
choose between a 
rapid impression, 
fresh and warm 
and living, but 
probably deserv- 
ing only of a short 
life, and the cold, 
p rof oun d , in tense 
effort of memory, 
knowledge, and 
will-power, pro- 
longed perhaps tor 
weeks, from which 
a masterpiece can 
alone result. It is 
much better not 
to fret too much 
about the latter. 
Leave to the 
masters of art 
trained by a life- 
time of devotion 
the wonderful pro- 
cess of picture- 
building and pic- 
ture-creation. Go 
out into the sun- 
light and be happy 
with what you 

Painting is com- 
plete as a distrac- 
tion, i know of 

nothing which, without exhausting the body, 
more entirely absorbs the mind. What- 
ever the worries of the hour or the threats 
of the future, once the picture has begun 
to flow along there is no room for them 
in the mental screen, They pass out into 
shadow and darkness. All one's mental 
light, such as it is, is concentrated on the 
task, Time stands respectfully aside, and 
it is only after many hesitations that luncheon 
knocks gruffly at the door. When I have 
had to stand up on parade, or even, I regret 
to say, in church, for half an hour at a time, 
I have always felt that the erect position is 
not natural to man, has only been painfully 
acquired, and is only with fatigue and diffi- 
culty maintained. But no one who is fond 
of painting finds the slightest inconvenience 
in standing to paint for three or four hours 
at a time or for seven or eight hours in a 
day. Not, at least, as long as the interest 

Digitized by C-OOQ I C 


Lastly, let me say a word on painting as a 
spur to travel. There is really nothing like 
it. Every country where the sun shines and 
every district in it has a theme of its own. 
The lights, the atmosphere, the aspect, the 
spirit, are all different ; but each has its 
native charm. Even if you are only a poor 
painter you can feel the influence of the 
scene, guiding your brush, selecting the 
tubes you squeeze on to the palette. Even 
if you cannot portray it as you see it, you 
feel it, vou know it, and you admire it for 
ever. When people rush about Europe in 
the train from one glittering centre of work 
or pleasure into another, passing — at enor- 
mous expense — through a series of mammoth 
hotels and blatant carnivals, they little know 
what they are missing, and how cheaply 
priceless things can be obtained. The 
painter wanders and loiters contentedly from 
place to place, always on the look-out for 
some brilliant butterfly of a picture which 



Painting as a Pastime 

can be caught and set up and earned safely 
home. All he a^ks for is sunshine, and if it 
be really true that we are to have thirty-five 
years of drought, there ought to be no diffi- 
culty about supplying that. Cote d'Azur, 
Gdte d'Argent, Cote d'Emeraude all present 
to him their world -famed beauties, which 
neither crowds nor casinos are needed to 

Sir William Orpen advised me to visit 
Avignon on account of its wonderful light, 
and certainly there is no more delightful 

ever interpreted its lurid splendours ? But 
after all, if only the sun will shine, one does 
not need to go beyond one's own country. 
There is nothing more intense than the bur- 
nished steel and gold of a Highland stream ; 
and at the beginning and close of almost 
every day the Thames displays to the citizens 
of London glories and delights which one 
must travel far to rival, 

I end where i began ; I hope sincerely 
that these notes and sketches may encourage 
others to find out whether they have not got 

At the Pyramids, 

centre for a would-be painter's activities : 
then Egvpt, fierce and brilliant, presenting 
in infinite variety the single triplex theme of 
the Nile, the desert, and the sun ; or Pales- 
tine, a land of rare beauty— the beauty of 
the turquoise and the opal — which well de- 
serves the attention of some real artist, and 
haft never been portrayed to the extent that 
is its due. And what of India ? Who has 

within them that love of colour and faculty 
of observation which will enable them to 
enrich their leisure with the delightful 
amusement of painting. At any rate I shall 
dwell in the comfortable expectation of 
stirring some slumbering genius into action, 
or at least of investing a modest life 
with a new sense of fullness, security, and 

by Google 

Original from 



*EN minutes 
before Snub 
Redly left 
his dress- 
ing-room, a mes- 
senger delivered 
a letter. His 
seconds and his 
manager pro- 
tested against his 
anything which 


might well 
be disturbing at such a critical 
moment, for the little man %vas 
fighting for his title, and Curly Boyd, the 
aspirant to championship honours, had 
knocked out four successive opponents 
before lie claimed his right to a meeting 
with the world champion. 

" Let me see it," said Snub, and he was 
something of an autocrat. 

The letter was typewritten and was signed 
by two reputable men whose names were 
honoured in the sporting world. 

Snub read the letter slowly, 

*' A challenge," he said, tersely, " for 
ten thousand pounds a side." 

" Who is the feller ? " asked the manager. 

" They call him ' An Unknown ' — he wants 
to meet the winner of to-night's fight. Send 
a wire and say I accept." 

The manager grinned. 

il Better wait till after the fight ? " he 

" Send it," said Snub, curtly, and put on 
his dressing-gown and that queer grimace 
of his at one and the same time. 

Snub Reilly's " fighting face " was not 
pretty, It wrinkled up his nose and twisted 
his mouth to a sneer. Some say it was 
designed to scare the opposition ; some 
explained it as " nerves." Snub was sensi- 
tive on the matter, for even fighters have 
their amiable weaknesses. He was never 
photographed except in the ring, so that the 
world knew Snub by such snaps and films as 
showed a puckered face, a mouth awry, and 
the dishevelment of hair w T hich comes from 
the strenuous exchanges of the ring. 

This night the public glimpse of him was 

brief and Curly 
Boyd, his oppo- 
nent, had him- 
self to thank for 
such an early 
ending to his 
rosy dreams. He 
had detected, as 
he thought, a 
unsteadiness in 
movements and a 
hint of anxiety showing through 
his grimace. So Curly, relying 
upon his excellent fitness, had put everything 
into a projected left and right. Incidentally 
he was fighting the greatest ring strategist 
of his day t and when he uncovered his jaw 

for the fraction of a second 

" Eight — nine — ten — out ! " said a far- 
away voice in Curly 's ear. Somebody shook 

Snub's leg 

by dC 


him by his gloved hand, and he heard above 
the roaring in his head a louder roar, and 
dropped his head wearily to catch a glimpse 
of a figure in a flowered dressing-gown, 
slipping through the gangway into the gloom 
behind the ring seats. 

It was a fine thing for Snub, because the 
eyes of the workl were on that fight — outside 
the building limousines were parked twenty 
deep — and before he reached his dressing- 
room the news of his victory was quivering 
in dots and dashes on every line and cable 
that ran from the city. 

Ten minutes after the fight he left the 
building by a side door and mingled with 
the thousands who crowded about the 
entrances. Modesty was Snub Reilly's 
favourite vice, 

The echoes of such a combat were not to 
die down in a day, for Snub was something of 
a national hero, This champion, who never 
gave interviews, who was so taciturn and 
secretive that his very seconds did not meet 
him until the day before his fights, appealed 
1o the popular imagination as no other ring 
favourite had done. And when at the end 
of the Press description it was announced 
that "An Unknown " had challenged the 
winner for a purse of ten thousand pounds, 
Original from 



Fighting Snub Reilly 

and the challenge had been accepted, there 
was an added value to the news. 

Even staid and sleepy Rindle, dedicated 
to the education of youth, was excited, 
wildly excited for Rindle. The headmaster 
read the account of the fight at breakfast, 
and hummed and hawed his approval of the 
lightning stroke which laid the presumptuous 
Curly Boyd so low. 

And on the opposite side of the breakfast 
table, Vera Shaw, nineteen and beautiful, 
hid a newspaper on her lap, read furtively, 
and was thrilled. A group of boys en route 
from their dormitories to prayers and 
morning school gathered about one daring 
soul who had- broken all school regulations 
and purchased forbidden literature, and 
whooped joyously. 

It was natural that Barry Tearle, the 
mathematical master, should stop in the 
midst of correcting exercises, hitch up his 
gown at the neck for comfort, and sit back 
to study the account. Natural, because he 
was also games master and instructor of the 
noble art to Rindle School. 

He put down the paper with a thoughtful 
frown and went back to his exercises, lighting 
his pipe mechanically the while. Presently 
he gathered the papers together and rose. 
The bell was clanging the warning for prayers 
in Hall. He was hurrying across the quad- 
rangle and under the archway, when he heard 
his name called. 

He turned quickly, startled almost, and 
swept off his cap. It was Vera. 

" I saw you come home this morning." 

" Did — did you ? My car had a break- 
down near Northwood — I hope I didn't 
disturb you ? " 

No errant boy called to his study to explain 
a delinquency could have looked more 
patently guilty than he, and she laughed, 
and when Vera Shaw laughed it required all 
his self-possession to behave sanely. 

" No, you didn't disturb me. I couldn't, 
sleep and was sitting at the window approving 
the moon when you sneaked into the quad. 
— there is no other word for it. Did you see 
the fight?" she asked suddenly, and he 

"No, I did not see the fight," he said, 

severely, '* and I'm surprised " 

' Pooh ! " She flicked her finger at him. 
" I've read every bit about it. Do tell me 
who is " An Unknown ' who is going to fight 
that darling Snub — run, you'll be late ! " 

He was the first to leave after the final 
" Amen." She was standing where he had 
left her, but Sellinger was with her, and, 
forgetful of the admirable charity toward all 
men which he had so recently intoned, Barry 
cursed Sellinger most heartily. 

John Sellinger lived in Rindle ; his 
ancestors had founded Rindle School, and 

by K: 



he himself assumed the style and manner and 
mental attitude of hereditary patron saint to 
the school. He was tall, overtopping Barry 
by six inches, florid, well-fed, and prosperous. 
He was good -looking, too, in a heavy, 
aquiline way. And he made no secret that 
his patronage of Rindle might extend to 
acquiring relationship with its headmaster. 

" Morning, Tearle. I suppose you didn't 
see the fight ? " 

" No, I didn't see the fight," said Barry, 
savagely. " Have I nothing better to do ? 
Did you ? " he asked suddenly. 

" Yes, rather — I was just telling Vera all 
about it. Wonderful fellow, Reilly. Smaller 
even than you." 

" Is it possible ? " asked Barry, affecting 
an extravagant surprise. " Could you see 
him ? " 

" Don't be sarcastic," said Mr. Sellinger. 
" Of course you could see him. He isn't a 
beauty, I can tell you — lop-sided face — 
you've seen the picture in the papers ? — but, 
boy, he's a fighter ! " 

" So I've heard," said Barry, wearily. 

"As to the unknown idiot who wants to 
fight him " 

" Good morning," said Barry, shortly, 
and, with a lift of his hat, went on. 

CURIOUS fellow, that." Sellinger shook 
his head. " Can't quite make him 
out, Vera." 

" Mr. Sellinger." Her tone was very 

* 4 Yes, Vera ? " 

" Will you please not call me by my 
Christian name ? " 

He was surprised and hurt. 

" But, my dear child " 

" But I'm not your dear child," she said, 
in the same voice. "I'm not even a child." 

" Of course, if you wish it, Ve — Miss — er — 
Shaw, by all means. I'm sorry if I've 
offended you." 

He was not sorry, except for himself, of 
course ; but it was the kind of reply that a 
representative of the oldest family in the 
county should make. 

" You haven't offended me — only I don't 
like it. Why do you think that Mr. Tearle 
is curious ? ** 

"Well," he hesitated, "a schoolmaster 
isn't the best paid professional in the world, 
and yet Tearle lives in style, has a car of his 
own, is always dressed well." 

She looked at him in that weary, patient 
way which women can make so offensive. 

"Other people have money — you have 
money — and yet it isn't curious," she said, 
coldly; "or do you think it is curious 
because you haven't got it all ? " 

He smiled indulgently. 
V-m i Q i n d i rrorn 


Edgar Wallace 

" How like you to defend him I M he said, 
and before indignation could permit an 
appropriate reply he went on : " Did your 
father say whether the School Extension 
Committee was meeting at the usual hour ? " 

She shook her head and half turned to go. 

" I wish " he 

began, and stopped. 

" You wish ? M 

-Well " Tliis 

time his hal t of speech 
was loss natural. "I 
wish that other ar- 
rangements would be 
made about " 

+ At)out what ? " 

She was exasper- 
ated by his studied 
hesitations, but she 
was curious. 

1 About the money 
that has been raised 
for the School Ex- 
tension. It is a tre- 
mendous sum for a 
—well, for an ill-paid 
master to handle," 

He knew he had 
made a mistake be- 
fore the words were 
out, for the girl's 
face had gone from 
crimson to white as 
the drift of his mean- 
ing appeared. 

*' Do you " — she 
was breathless, and 
her voice sounded 
strange even to her- 
self; "do you — mean 
to suggest that Mr. 
T e a r 1 e — g e t s his 
money for motor- 
cars — oh, it's too 
absurd — too wicked ! 
How dare you 1 " 

He blinked at her 
in amazement. He 
had never regarded 
her as anything but 
a soft, fluffy, kitten y 
thing and a possible 
ornament to his 
gloomy house. He 
looked rig hast upon 
a fury ; her grey 
eyes, dark with 
passion, her lips 
straight drawn and 

"My dear M he 


" You must have 
an evil mind to 


I hate 

think such things/' she flamed, 
you [ JJ 

He stood as a man petrified until she had 
disappeared through the porch of Dr. Shaw's 

** Very unbecoming," he spluttered to 

" Vera wa$ standing where he had left her, but Sellinger was 

with her." 

k r^nrmfr* Original from 



Fighting Snub Reilly 

himself, fuming ; M very unladylike — very 
unnecessary " 

DR. SHAW came in to lunch ten minutes 
earlier than Vera had expected, and 
brought Sellinger with him, to the 
girl's intense annoyance. 

" I've asked Sellinger to stay to lunch, 
Vera," he said. " Will you tell Mrs. Burdon 
to put another place at the table ? We have 
a meeting of the Extension Committee this 
afternoon and I cannot send Mr. Sellinger 
all the way back." 

A more sensitive man than Sellinger might 
have been hurt by the apology for his invita- 
tion ; but Sellinger was not that kind of 
man. He smiled graciously upon the girl, 
and in that smile conveyed a tacit agreement 
that what had happened that morning should 
be overlooked and forgotten. 

Fortunately for Vera, there was little need 
for her to speak, for the conversation centred 
about the afternoon committee meeting. 
When Tearle's name came into the conversa- 
tion it was Dr. Shaw who was responsible. 

•' There was rather an unpleasant little 
incident this morning in town," he said — 
and when those of Rindle School referred to 
•• town " they meant all that part of Rindle 
which was not school. " I don't know what 
started it, but I'm quite sure the boy was 
not in the wrong." 

" Is one of the boys in trouble, father ? " 
asked Vera, quickly. 

" Well, not exactly in trouble. You re- 
member—do you know the man Crickley — 
he has a tumbledown shanty on the Jamaica 
Road ? " 

She nodded. 

•• An awful ruffian," she said ; " he was at 
court last year, and he drinks, doesn't he ? " 

* # I should imagine he had been drinking 
this morning. He was going through the 
town with his unfortunate wife, and ap- 
parently something she said disagreed with 
him — at any rate, the brute hit her first with 
his stick, and although I don't suppose he 
hurt her very much, one of the boys of the 
fifth — young Tilling, to be exact — who 
happened to be passing, interfered " 

•' Good for him ! " said the girl, her eyes 

Dr. Shaw smiled. 

" It looked like being bad for him," he 
said. " For the blackguard turned his at- 
tention to the boy, and had him by the scruff 
of the neck, according to accounts, when 
Tearle, who was going over to the higher 
mathematical set, came upon the scene. I 
understand he asked the man very civilly to 
release the boy ; whereupon he certainly 
loosed his hold of the bov, but he struck at 

The girl opened her mouth in consternation. 

by LiOOgle 

M Was he — was he hurt ? '" she asked. 

•• No, 1 don't think he was,'* the doctor 

chuckled, quietly. '* Tearle, you know " 

he turned to Sellinger, ** is our games master, 
and a rattling good instructor in boxing. I 
saw the captain of the school, who witnessed 
the encounter, and he is most enthusiastic 
about what followed." 

" Did he strike the man ? Was there a 
brawl ? " asked Sellinger, ready to be 

" I don't think there was much of a brawl, 
but he certainly struck the man," said the 
doctor, dryly. " Crickley had to be assisted 

Sellinger shook his head heavily. 

•' I don't know whether that sort of thing 
is good for Rindle," he said, in his capacity 
of patron saint. 

" Nonsense ! " said the doctor, sharply, 
and the girl beamed upon her father. " A 
most excellent lesson and example to the boys. 
It means, of course, that the boys in Tearle's 
form will give themselves airs, but it is what 
I would term a most excellent thing to have 

Sellinger was discreetly silent on this 

I TALKED to Tearle after school," Dr. 
Shaw went on. "Of course, Tearle was 
most apologetic." He paused and 
frowned. ,# Do you know, Vera," he said, 
*' I had the most extraordinary impression 
when I was speaking to Tearle. In this 
mornings paper — which, of course, you 
haven't read, my dear, at least not the part 
that I am referring to — there was a reference 
to a challenge which had been issued by a 
certain Unknown to the boxer, Snub Reilly." 

" You don't mean that " she said. 


" Yes, I had that impression — that Tearle 
was the Unknown. You see, I mentioned 
the fight of the previous evening, and I talked 
to him about the challenge, just as I might 
talk to Sellinger here in an ordinary, matter- 
of-fact way. And do you know that he 
went as red as a beetroot ? " 

Sellinger laughed loud and heartily. 

4 ' That would be too absurd," he said, 
contemptuously. " I grant that our friend 
Tearle may be an excellent boxer, but an 
excellent amateur has no earthly chance 
against even a third-class professional, and 
Snub Reilly is at the top of his class." 

Dr. Shaw shrugged. 

"I agree it is ridiculous," he said. 

" Besides," Sellinger went on, enlarging 
his argument, " before that match can occur, 
somebody has got to find ten thousand 
pounds, and ten thousand pounds is a lot of 
money " 

Vera was looking at him, and their eves 
Original from 


Edgar Wallace 


met. She saw in his the dawn of a great 
suspicion, and her hand gripped the handle 
of her bread knife murderously. It was 
Sellinger who changed the subject abruptly, 
but the girl knew that he was iar from re- 
linquishing his theory. 

Sellinger went out to telephone to his 
house, and the girl was left alone with her 

" Daddy." she said, do you like Mr. 
Sellinger ? " 

He looked at her over his glasses. 

" No, dear, to be candid/* he said, slowly. 
" I think him a most unmitigated bore ! " 

She held out her hand solemnly and her 
father gripped it. 

. " I think you are the most wonderful 
father in the world," she said. " And all 
this time I was thinking that you loved him." 

" I loathe him," said her father, frankly, 
'• in so far as it is possible for a person of my 
profession to loathe anybody. But the 
Sellingers are a sort of tradition at Rindle, 
and one has to be civil to them." 

"I'm going to tell you something." 

She walked over and shut the door which 
Sellinger had left open. 

" Do you know what he suggested to me 
this morning ? " 

" Who, Sellinger ? " 

She nodded. 

" He suggested that the School Extension 
Funds are being stolen by Mr. Tearle." 

Dr. Shaw jumped up, pink with anger. 

" How dare he ? It is a monstrous sug- 
gestion ! " he said, '* I shall tell him " 

" No, you'll tell him nothing," said Vera, 
hastily. " What is the use of my giving you 
my confidence ? I am only telling you for 
your guidance." 

Dr. Shaw sat down in his chair again. 

" A disgraceful suggestion," he mumbled, 
' and palpably stupid. Certainly Tearle, as 
treasurer, has control of the money " 

" Is it cash ? I mean, could you go into a 
room and take so many hundreds or thou- 
sands from a box ? " asked the girl, and 
Dr. Shaw laughed. 

" Of course not. The money is represented 
by certain securities — stocks in various 
industries and railways. Tearle has the 
handling and the care of these stocks — he is 
a capital man of business. But to suggest 

! " he fumed, and it needed all the 

girl's power of persuasion to bring him back 
to a condition of calm. 

Mr. Sellinger went home that night deep 
in thought, and sat up until two o'clock in 
the morning writing letters to his friends. 
One of these friends was an editor of a news- 
paper closely identified with sport, and from 
him in a few days he learnt more particulars 
of the challenge which had been issued to the 
great Snub Reilly. The ten thousand pounds 

by L^OOgle 

had to be deposited by the fifth of the 
following month, the sum being lodged in the 
bank in the name of three prominent sports- 
men, one of whom was the writer. 

Where would Tearle get his ten thousand ? 
He was absolutely certain that Tearle was 
the challenger, and the news he had from the 
school confirmed him in his opinion. Further 
confirmation came one day at a committee 
meeting when Tearle had taken some papers 
from his pocket. Amongst them Sellinger 
saw a somewhat gaudy print. It was 
strangely familiar to him, but it was not until 
he got home that it flashed upon him that 
the print was a programme of the Reilly- 
Boyd fight ! So Tearle had been a spectator 
after all! And he had sworn that he had 
not seen the fight ! 

The master, too, was in strict training, and 
once, looking from his bedroom in the dark 
hours of the morning — Sellinger was not a 
good sleeper — he saw a figure in white vest 
and shorts run past the lodge entrance, and 
recognized Barry Tearle as the runner. 

The weeks that followed were for Mr. 
Sellinger weeks of interest and investigation. 
. At a meeting of the Extension Committee, 
which gathered once a week to transact 
formal business, he asked for and secured a 
list of the securities held by the treasurer. 
And with this in his possession he bided his 

THERE arrived at this period an un- 
obtrusive individual who took lodgings 
in the village and appeared to have 
very little to do except to loaf about the 
school and watch the boys and the masters 
go in and out. He was a charming man, 
who made friends with the postmaster, and 
was on good terms with all the tradesmen 
before he had' been in the village three 
days. One night Sellinger was finishing his 
dinner when a visitor was announced. It 
was the stranger who greeted his employer 

" Well, Mr. Sellinger," he said, with satis- 
faction, " I have a few items of information 
for you which will interest you." 

" Have you got him ? " asked Mr. Sel- 
linger, eagerly. 

" I wouldn't like to say that," said the 
detective, " but I rather fancy that if we 
haven't got him we've put him in a very 
tight corner." 

He took a note -book from his pocket and 
turned the leaves. 

" Yesterday afternoon Tearle sent a regis- 
tered envelope to Taylor and Grime, the 
brokers. 1 got the address, because I'm a 
friend of the postmaster's — anyway, that 
was easy. I went straight up to the City 
by the night train and called on Taylor and 
Grime the next morning, and it couldn't have 
V-m I Q I n d I Trorii 



Fighting Snub Reilly 

happened better for me, because there's a 
clerk in the office whom I know very well. 
As a matter of fact, I saved him from a whole 
lot of trouble a couple of years ago." 

" What was it that Tearle sent ? " asked 
Sellinger, holding his breath. 

'• Five thousand shares in the Rochester 
and Hoi beach Railroad. One thousand 
shares in the Land Development Syndicate, 
and a thousand shares in the Newport Dock 

" Wait a moment," said Sellinger, hastily, 
and went to his desk. He came back with 
a list. * Read the .names of those stocks 
over again," he said, and the detective com- 

* That's it ! " Sellinger nodded. " All 
these shares are held by Tearle on behalf of 
the School Extension Fund ! " 

The detective looked at him curiously. 

" Well, what are you going to do — pinch 
him ? " he asked, and Mr. Sellinger smiled. 

" No," he said, softly; " I don't think we 
need arrest him yet awhile." 

He paced up and down the room. 

" Til tell you what I'll do," he said. - I'm 
having the masters up to dinner to-morrow 
night. It is a practice that the Sellingers 
have always followed since the foundation 
of the school — I suppose you know that 
Rindle School was founded by one of my 
ancestors ? " 

The detective did not know, but bowed 

' Tearle lives with old Mrs. Gold in the 
High Street," Sellinger went on. 4t She's as 
deaf as a brick and I believe goes to bed every 
night at nine o'clock. His rooms are a long 
way from where she and the servants sleep, 
and, anyway, she's so deaf that she wouldn't 
hear you." 

" What's the idea ? " asked the detective. 

M Whilst I have Mr. Tearle here "—Sel- 
linger emphasized his words with a regular 
thrust of his finger into his hireling's waist- 
coat — " you will make a very careful search 
through Tearle's papers." 

The detective nodded. 

" I get you," he said. * But how am I to 
find my way into the house ? " 

" The front door is always unfastened 
when Tearle is out at night," said Sellinger. 
' He was telling the Head last week that he 
never carried a key, and most of the houses 
leave their doors open — there is no crime in 

' Except what we commit," • said the 
detective, humorously. 

•'That," said Mr. Sellinger, gravely, is 
an impertinence. This is not a crime. 1 am 
acting in the best interests of justice." 

The Sellinger dinner, which, as Mr. Sel- 
linger said, was a feature of Rindle School 
life, was a deadly dull affair to two of the 

by Google 

guests. For the host, with commendable 
foresight, had so arranged the seats that 
Vera Shaw sat at one end of the board on his 
right, and Barry Tearle at the other end of 
the long table, on Dr. Shaw's right. This 
arrangement suited Mr. Sellinger admirably, 
because he had a proposal to make to Vera, 
the terms of which had taken a good day's 
thought. The girl, who would never have 
attended but for the fact that the three 
mistresses which Rindle boasted were present, 
was openly bored — a fact which Mr. Sellinger 
did not observe. 

THEY were half-way through dinner when 
Sellinger exposed his grand scheme. 
" Miss Vera," he said (he had com- 
promised to that extent), " I want to make a 
suggestion to you and I wonder how you'll 
take it ? " 

" That depends upon the suggestion," she 
said, coolly. 

** It may shock you," he began, cautiously, 
lowering his voice. " But — how would you 
like to see the fight ? " 

" See the fight ? " she repeated, startled. 
" Do you mean the fight between " 

M Between Snub Reilly and the Great 
Unknown," he said, jocularly. 

She thought a moment. 

" I hardly think I'd like to see it at all," 
she said. "I do not approve of women 
attending such exhibitions." 

" Suppose the Great Unknown were a 
friend of yours ? " he said deliberately, and 
her face went pink* 

" How absurd ! Do you suggest ? " 

■" I not only suggest, but I know," he said. 
" You must promise not to tell Tearle, be- 
cause, if my surmise is correct, he would be 
upset by your knowing, and maybe the 
thing would peter out ! " 

** But it's nonsense," she said, contemptu- 
ously. " How could Mr. Tearle find ten 
thousand " She bit her lip. 

" He may have friends," said Sellinger, 

There was a silence. 

" Do you think he could win — supposing 
he were — the Unknown ? " 

*• Why not ? " lied Sellinger. " I'm told 
he is a very brilliant boxer, and I'm not so 
sure that Snub Reilly couldn't be beaten." 

He saw the girls head turn slowly, and, 
as if obeying a common impulse, Barry 
Tearle raised his head at that moment. 

,# Why do you want me to go ? " she asked 

But he was prepared for that ; it was in 
framing the answer to such a question that 
he had spent the morning. 

" Because," he said, stoutly, " I think he 
will win. And, what is more/' it cost him a 
greater effort to deliver this sentiment than 

Original from 


Edgar Wallace 


1 rather fancy/ said the detective, * that if we haven*t got him we've put him in a 

very tight cornet/ " 

to carry out the rest of the scheme—" be- 
cause I've an idea that Tearle is fond of you." 

She turned quickly away and did not 
reply for some minutes, 

" I'll go on one condition/' she said, '* and 
I think that it can he managed. I have to 
go to town, and my aunt has asked me to 
stay the night — J can easily pretend that I 
am going to a theatre. Who will take me ? " 

"I, of course/' said Mr. Sdlinger, gal- 
lantly, and she nodded. 

1 What is the condition ? " he asked. 

' That if you find you are wrong, and the 
— the Unknown is not Mr.— Tearle — you will 
take me away/' 

" Of course/' said Mr. Sellinger, heartily. 
" I wouldn't dream of allowing you to see 
the' fight unless our friend was involved. 

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Now remember, Miss Vera, it is absolutely 
necessary that you should not mention this 
matter to Mr* Tearle. Let it be a surprise 
to him. I can imagine/' he went on, M how 
delighted he would be, how nerved for the 
— er — c o m bat . J ' 

" Don't let us talk about it any more/' 
she said, 

To Barry Tearle's intense disappointment 
she left with her father, and scarcely spoke 
two words to him. He was puzzled. What 
had she and Sellinger been talking a tout so 
earnestly, he wondered. Did they know ? — 
he went pale at the thought. 

He walked back to his lodgings, a greatly 
worried young man. 

The last guest had hardly departed before 
the detective was ushered into Sellinger 's 



Fighting Snub Reilly 

library, and one glance at his face revealed 
to that gentleman the measure of his success. 

" We've got him, sir," he said, exultantly. 
" Here you are ! " He laid a sheet of paper 
before the other. 

" What is this ? " 

" I've copied it from a letter which I 
found on his table." 

Mr. Sellinger picked up the paper and 
fixed his glasses. It was from a City bank, 
and acknowledged the receipt of ten thousand 
pounds which had been paid into Barry 
Tearle's account. But it was the second 
.extract which filled Mr. Sellinger with joy. 
!t was merely three lines copied from the 
tounterfoil of Barry Tearle's cheque-book, 
which showed that the sum of ten thousand 
pounds had been made out in favour of the 
Fight Committee ' 

Mr. Sellinger rubbed his hands. 

" You've done splendidly, my friend, 
splendidly ! " he said. " Now, what shall 
we do ? " 

" You ought to have him arrested at 
once," said the detective, shaking his head. 
" Unless you take immediate steps, you'll 
never recover that money." 

"No, no," said Sellinger. 

He knew something better than that, but 
this he did not explain to the detective. He 
was going to see Tearle beaten — and some- 
body else was going to see him beaten, too. 
And when the fight was over, the comedy 
would develop into drama — and melodrama 
at that. 

•* I want Somebody to have a lesson," he 
said solemnly, " a lesson which they will 
never forget in their lives, and which may 
have a lasting beneficial effect upon their 
iuture. To the uninitiated, my act may 
seem a cruel one ; but it is often necessary, 
my friend, that one should be cruel to be 

" But what about the money ? " asked the 
puzzled but practical detective. " That is 
going to be lost." 

" 1 don't think so," said Mr. Sellinger. 
" If it is, then I am happily in a position to 
make good to the school the amount that 
this man has stolen." 

He might have kept his secret, he might 
have maintained his outward calm to the 
grand denouement ; but it was impossible 
that he could keep his knowledge pent up so 
long. The girl left for town early on the 
morning of the fight, and Barry, when he 
learnt she had gone, and had gone without 
seeing him, felt as though life held no further 
interest for him. He himself went up by 
the afternoon train, having secured per- 
mission from the Head. An hour before he 
left, Dr. Shaw sent for him, and the doctor 
was obviously ill at ease. 

' You wanted me, sir ? " said Barry, 


coming into the study, and the Head looked 
round with a start. 

" Yes — er — yes, Tearle," said the doctor, 
uncomfortably. " Sit down, will you ? I 
wanted to say to you — that I wish you luck." 

He put out his hand. 

" I'm a little worried, you know, Tearle, 
about it all, and it seems to me that you 
haven't a ghost of a chance." 

" What do you mean, sir ? " 

** I mean, I believe you are the Unknown 
who has challenged this boxer, and somehow 
I wish you hadn't. It is not that I disap- 
prove of boxing, and although there is certain 
to be a little trouble if the truth comes out 
that you are the challenger, we can get over 
that. No, it's the fear that you have risked 

your own private fortune " he hesitated, 

" unless, of course, you persuaded your 
friends to assist you ? " 

* No, sir, it is all my own money," said 
Barry Tearle, steadily. 

" I hope you win." Dr. Shaw shook him 
cheerfully by the hand. " You're a good 
fellow, Tearle, and — and I hope you win, 
and I'm sure if my — if my girl knew, and of 
course she doesn't dream that you are taking 
part in this contest, that she would echo 
my wishes." 

Barry wrung his hand in silence and left 
with a little lump in his throat. 

IT was a grand adventure for the girl. All 
day she had thought about nothing else, and 

alternated between hope and dread. Some- 
times it was dread of the spectacle she would 
see : sometimes — and more often — it was 
the picture of Barry Tearle's failure which 
made her shiver. The faithful Mr. Sellinger 
arrived at nine o'clock in the evening. He 
was in his most jovial mood, as he had 
reason to be, for he had just parted from two 
Central Office detectives after putting them 
in possession of the vital facts. 

He had arranged that the girl should 
arrive at the theatre where the fight was 
taking place in time to miss some of the 
minor encounters which preceded it, and it 
was while they were waiting in the vestibule 
for one such contest to finish that he was 
hailed by a friend and left her for a moment. 

Vera was feeling self-conscious and un- 
comfortable. It did not bring ease to her 
mind that there were other ladies present. 
She felt ashamed and furtive and mean, and 
for the first time she began to have serious 
doubts as to what effect her presence would 
have upon the man whose victory she desired. 

She still told herself that Sellinger was 
mistaken, and that the challenger was some 
other person than Barry, but in her heart of 
hearts she knew that she would see the man 
she loved within that cruel ring, and the 
thought of it set her heart thumping wildly. 

Original from 


Edgar Wallace 


" Talk to me later, Johnson. I'm going 
to get my seat," she heard Sellinger say, and 
then he took her arm and led her down a long 

The theatre was in darkness save for the 
brilliant lights which hung above a square, 
white platform. 

So that was the ring ! It was smaller 
than she had expected. She looked round 
at the spectators in the gloom, and thought 
she had never seen so many thousands of faces 
so close together. She was seized with a 
panic as to what all those thousands would 
say if Barry was defeated. Would they 
cheer ? She stopped, gripping fast to Sel- 
linger's arm. She couldn't bear that. 

" I don't think I'll go in," she whispered, 
" I really don't think I can stand it." 

" Come along," said Sellinger, soothingly, 
and led her down to a ring seat. 

She was too near. She knew that she was 
too near. She would rather see this thing at 
such a distance as made it impossible to 
distinguish between one fighter and the other. 
But she was there now and she must stay. 
And then it was that Sellinger could keep his 
secret no longer. 

There was some delay, they learned. 
Snub had not arrived, but had telephoned 
that he was on his way. But for the delay 
and the opportunity which it gave him, 
Sellinger might have maintained his silence 
to the end. But now he bent over the girl, 
and Step by step traced the progress of his 
investigations, and she listened, chilled with 
norror. She could not even find the words 
to protest. 

He might have noticed her distress and in 
pity have toned down his lurid recital, but he 
was hot with triumph, and found a joy in his 
brutality. And then the climax came, when 
the girl was clutching the arm of her chair, 
half fainting. 

The man to whom Sellinger had spoken 
in the vestibule came up and said Snub had 
arrived. Mr. Johnson was stout, red-faced, 
and white-haired. 

" Is the Unknown here ? " demanded 
Sellinger with a grim smile. 

" Oh, yes, he's here. I'm told he's going 

" He's going nowhere," almost shouted 
Sellinger. *' I've got a couple of detectives 
waiting for him, my friend." 

"Oh, don't, don't," said Vera, white to 
her lips. 

" A couple of detectives ? " The man 
looked from one to the other. " Well, I 
think that's rotten of you, Sellinger. The 
man has had his punishment. Why should 
he have more ? You know him, then ? " 

11 I know him very well indeed," <*aid 
Sellinger. " I don't know about his punish- 


"He had two years' imprisonment for 
forgery in Australia. He was one of the 
best lightweights we've had in this country 
for years. I told them that they ought to 
have come out boldly and told the public 
that it is Kid Mackay who was challenging, 
but the men who are behind him insisted on 
introducing him as ' An Unknown ' — an 
idiotic piece of tactics." 

The colour was coming back to the girl's 
face as her eyes were fixed upon the other. 

" Who is he ? " she whispered. 

" Kid Mackay, madam," said Sellinger 's 
friend, and went on, " one of the best lads in 
the ring three years ago " 

" Then it is not Tearle ? " wailed Sellinger. 

Such a look of bewilderment was on his 
face that she could have laughed. Then 
with a start she remembered. 

" You must take me away. You promised 
that if it was not " 

Her words were interrupted by a roar. A 
man was coming down one of the aisles in a 
purple dressing-gown. As he swung up 
between the ropes, his broad, good-humoured 
face all smiles, one half the audience recog- 
nized the Unknown as the erstwhile champion, 
and understood the reticence that his backers 
had shown. 

But now a greater roar shook the building. 
Another figure moved amidst his seconds, 
and leaping lightly up to the ring, dodged 
through the ropes. From every part of the 
vast hall came a shout ! 

" Snub— Snub Reilly ! " 

" Snub Reilly ! " Mr. Sellinger's voice 
was hollow, and then Snub Reilly turned, 
and the girl half rose from her seat. 

The man whose face was distorted with 
his characteristic grimace was staring down 
at her, then slowly the wrinkles and pucker- 
ings smoothed out and the mouth went 
straight and she looked up into the startled 
eyes of Barry Tearle. 

Mr. Sellinger sat, stricken dumb, his mouth 
agape. As for the girl, she looked on as if 
in a trance. She saw the preliminaries, 
watched the opening of the first round, her 
eyes never leaving the lithe figure that 
leaped and lunged. She could hear the thud 
of the gloves as they struck, but whose 
gloves they were and who was struck she 
could not tell. It was at the beginning of 
the second round that the * 4 Unknown " 
forced the fighting, in spite of the injunctions 
and prayers of his seconds to remain strictly 
on the defensive for the first eight rounds. 
Right and left flashed Snub's terrible fists. 
The Unknown staggered. A second blow to 
the jaw landed, timed to the fraction of a 

The fight was over. It was over, too, for 

Vera Shaw, and Barry Tearle leapt the ropes 

in time to catch her as she fainted. 
V-m 1 Q 1 n d 1 ironi 



Fighting Snub Reilly 

IT was In the Heads study the next 
morning that Barry Teazle, unmarked 

by his exertions the night before, toM 
his story. 

My father was a boxer," he said. l He 
used to travel the country fairs, and every 
penny he made he put into my education. 
He did something more — he taught me the 
game, as no man knew it better than he. He 
died whilst I was at the University, and it 
looked as though my education was going to 
stop short. I loved my studies and I loved 
the life I had planned for myself. But I 
wanted money. I had no friends or influence. 
One morning at breakfast I saw in the 
sporting press a challenge issued on behalf 
of a man whom I had seen fight and whom 
I thought I could beat. I pawned every- 
thing I had to cover his modest stake, and p 
adopting the name of Snub Reilly — Reilly 
is my second name — I fought him and won. 
As I became better known I was terrified 
lest I should be recognized. It was then 
that I adopted what the papers call my 
'fighting face/ It was difficult to keep it 
up, but my fights have been so short — — " 

The doctor cleared his throat. 

* Vera has told me something of Mr. 
Sellinger's accusation. You sold some 
bonds ? ,J 

" Right and left flashed Snub's terrible 

fists. The Unknown staggered* A 

second blow to the jaw landed. The 


was over* 

Barry nodded. 

by Google 

They were my own bonds," he said. " 1 
had to raise ten thousand pounds to cover 
this challenge. They were bonds similar 
to those which we held for the Extension 

11 Naturally/' Dr. Shaw nodded, ,+ you 
would buy the best stock, both for the school 
and for yourself/' 

He was looking down at his blotting-pad 

M You have fought your last fight ? " he 

Barry nodded. 

' Yes, sir. From now on, Snub Reilly 
disappears. I have made a considerable 
sum N quite sufficient for my needs." 

" Nobody at the school knows you are — > 
Snub Reilly ? " 

" Except Mr. Sellingcr, * said Vera. 

Original from 

Edgar Wallace 


I do not think Mr. Sellinger will be 
anxious to talk about the part he has played 
in a business which is only discreditable in 
>o far as he has been concerned/' said Dr. 

For the second time in twenty- four hours 
lie put out his hand. 

" I rather think," he said, " I should like 
to have seen that fight. Wouldn't you, 
Vera ? " 

The girl shuddered and shook her head. 

" Of course not, of course not. How 
could I ask such a thing ? ?h said the doctor, 
tenderly, and he dropped his hand on her 
shoulder, " You couldn't imagine my little 
3irl in that sort of an atmosphere, could von, 
Tearie ? " 

Mr, Barry Tearle shook his head. He and 

by Google 

Vera went out together into the old-world 
quadrangle, and neither spoke. 

I most go into the house now, Barry, ' 
she said. You — you weren't very much 
hurt last night ? '" she added, anxiously, 
' Oh, my dear, 1 was so happy when you 
won/' She laid her hands impulsively on 
his breast. " And I've quite forgiven your 
little lie ! " 

"My little lie ? " He was astonished 

" You said vou had not seen the fight that 

He smiled. 

" I didn't see it," he insisted. I felt it 
— but I didn't see it/' 

Since the class-rooms overlook the quad- 
rangle, what followed would have been 
witnessed by the whole of the Fifth Classical 
form but for the tact of the head prefect 
of School House, who happened to be 
standing by the window and closed it with 
a bang. 

Original from 



orv a personal tkeme 

\_ [ ■"•"■'" 


These selections from Mr, Landon Ronald s Reminiscences are published by arrangement with Messrs. 
Hodder and Stoughton, who are shortly issuing "Variations on a Personal Theme"' in volume form. 

Mainly Autobiographical* 

I HAVE constantly been asked to write 
my Reminiscences, but have always 
refused— c hieHy because I keep no 
diary and I have a very bad memory 
for dates. No one, however, who has been 
t^efore the public since he was sixteen and 
has met every kind of person, interesting or 
otherwise, can fail to have had some amusing 
experiences and a few anecdotes to tell. 

1 can at least lay claim to having had 
a sense of humour all my life- Again and 
again have I been saved from utter boredom 
at stodgy committee meetings, at dull enter* 
tainments, or on long railway journeys by 
seeing the funny side of things. I probably 
inherited this from my father, who was 
a great raconteur, loved a joke, and had a 
splendid sense of the ridiculous. As a boy 
at home t was considered the " funny man/' 
and can boast at the age of ten of even 
amusing my family — and, as 
we all know, the family is 
not given to laughing at or 
encouraging home-grown pro- 
ducts as a rule. Corney Grain 
and George Grossmith were 
my two idols, and 1 was filled 
with an ambition to give an 
entertainment at the piano- 
forte similar to theirs. This 
ambition has never been real- 
ized. From the age of four 
or five I gave such obvious 
signs of being exceptionally 
musical that never tor one 
instant was the possibility 
entertained of my ever be- 
coming anything but a musi- 
cian. My dear mother not 

by v^ 



only gave me my first pianoforte lessons, 
but in every way guided and helped me 
in my studies, selecting my masters and 
even standing over me with infinite patience 
to see that I performed my allotted tasks 
at home. Oddly enough, I was a lazy boy, 
and would always shirk work if I 'could. 
This is all the more curious when it is 
remembered that from the age of seventeen 
I have been an indefatigable worker/ and 
that to-day I never give up unless ill -health 
compels me to do'so* Everything in music 
came remarkably >asy to me, especially 
writing songs. I was trained, however, to 
become a pianist and violinist, but heartily 
disliked having to practise cither instrument. 
At the age of fourteen I wanted to give up 
both in order to become a conductor, a com- 
poser, and a musical critic, and wrote this 
fact to my mother; It may seem odd to 
have written it instead of saying it to her, 
but Dr, Johnson never said a truer saying 
than M A letter cannot blush.* 1 This was 
just my case; I was too shy 
to tell her, so I wrote a note 
and crept upstairs and placed 
it carefully on her dressing- 
table. She met me with a 
very definite refusal partly be- 
cause she quite rightly deemed 
my desire as a mere excuse to 
escape the necessary work that 
all pianists and violinists have 
to do. To those two instru 
ments I was therefore kept, and 
after some six months' private 
tuition under Lady Thompson 
for composition, Franklin 
Taylor for pianoforte, and 
Henry Holmes for violin, I was 
entered as a student at the 
Royal College of Music. I 

Original from 



Landon Ronald 


should like to add here in parentheses that 
l.ady Thompson was the wife of the cele- 
brated surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson t and 
was in her early days known as Miss Kate 
Lodejr, a brilliant pianist, In her old age 
she was paralyzed, and couldn't move hand 
or foot. She was a magnificent musician 
and the kindest of friends, and her influence 
on my early musical days was deeply marked. 
On one of my journeys to the Royal 
College of Music on the Underground Rail- 
way an absurd incident occurred which I 
still remember with great clearness. I was 
standing on Fraed Street Station platform, 

arrived addressed to me* In the greatest 
excitement 1 opened it, and it turned out to 
be at least a couple of hundred religious tracts 
of all kinds, with a very cheap edition of the 
Bible and some Ancient and Modern Hymns. 
This was the old man's way of showing his 

1LEFT the Royal College of Music at the 
age of sixteen and a half, being a very good 
pianist, a fair violinist, a composer of some 
pretty tunes, and equipped with a thorough 
knowledge of the orchestra and orchestral 
music through having played first violin in 


When MouL asked what my terms would be t with a beating heart but without a 
moment's hesitation I replied: * Ten pounds ! * 

when I noticed an old man in a huge fur coat 
smoking a pipe. Some ashes of the pipe fell 
on his coat and it began to burn. I ran up 
to him and informed him of the circum- 
stance* He seemed greatly perturbed, and 
thanked me in the most effusive terms, and 
said that he would never forget my action. 
He would not leave me, and would not stop 
thanking me, and travelled with me as far 
as South Kensington Station, asking me all 
about myself. He took my name and ad- 
dress and said that I should hear from him, 
as he wished me to have a little souvenir of 
an action he would never forget. I heard 
nothing for some days, though, with child- 
like curiosity, I anxiously awaited the knock 
of the postman I One day a huge parcel 

Vol. L*iii _3 

the college orchestra for a considerable 
period. Among those who were fellow- 
students of mine and who have since made 
names for themselves were Robert Hiehens, 
Hamish MacCunn, Howard Talbot, W. H. 
Squire, and those excellent accompanists 
Messrs. F. A. Sewell and Liddle, besides 
many others who hold prominent positions 
on the concert platform and as well-known 

My first engagement followed soon after 
1 left the college and came about thus : I 
received a letter from a fellow-student 
saying that a pianist was wanted to play the 
difficult pianoforte part ot ** L/Enfant Pro- 
digue/' a musical play without words which 
had just been produced with enormous 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

success at the Prince of Wales Theatre. I 
was asked to go and see Mr. Alfred Moul, 
who was then a theatrical agent and later 
became chairman of the Alhambra Theatre. 
I did so, and my interview with him was 
decidedly amusing, and both he and I often 
laughed about it in after years. I was an 
independent, somewhat self-satisfied youth, 
and he was the practical, very busy man, 
with little time and few words to waste. He 
informed me very curtly that a trial of 
pianists was being held the next day at the 
theatre, and that if I cared to attend I could 
do so. I was living at home at this time 
and my father allowed me a few shillings a 
week pocket-money, and I didn't feel that 
there was any urgent necessity for me to 
earn anything. But I went to the theatre 
more out of a desire to prove to Mr. Moul 
that 1 was considerably better than he 
imagined than for any other reason. The 
composer, Andre Wormser, was there ; 
Charles Lauri, who was running the piece, 
and Mr. Moul, and behind them there were 
about twenty pianists all waiting to be heard. 
My turn came, and I played a very showy 
rhapsody by Liszt. My success was very 
marked, and I was at once asked to play 
from sight some of "L'Enfant Prodigue," 
which 1 did with the greatest ease. Charles 
Lauri was so carried away with enthusiasm 
that in a loud whisper I heard him tell Alfred 
Moul not to let me go out of the theatre and 
to settle with me there and then. I had no 
idea of my value, and scarcely realized what 
a weekly salary meant. Whatever they 
offered to pay me I knew I should have for 
pocket-money, and before I overheard Lauri 's 
remark I began, to see visions of two golden 
sovereigns per week to spend as I liked. 
When Moul, therefore, took me aside and 
told me that he was instructed to offer me 
the job and asked me what my terms would be. 
with a beating heart but without a moment's 
hesitation I replied, " Ten pounds " ! What 
possessed me to do so, or how I had the 
effrontery, still remains a mystery. But 
when my suggestion was immediately agreed 
to and I was not kicked out of the theatre, 
as I had feared I should be, I was scarcely 
able to find my voice to say " Thank you." 
I played L'Enfant Prodigue" over three 
hundred times, and went on tour with it 
through England and Scotland. 

Playing the piano in * L'Enfant Prodigue M 
proved to be my first and practically my last 
appearance as a pianist. It is true that I 
have played in public on a few rare occasions 
since, but my dropping the idea of ever 
making a career as a pianist dates from the 
last performance of * L'Enfant Prodigue " 
manv, many years ago. I made up my mind 
to become a conductor, although my youthful 
appearance was a great drawback, as I found 

Digitized by V^OOQ IC 

that managers were shy of trusting such a 
boyish-looking individual, and that orchestral 
men had little or no respect for me. I 
eventually succeeded, however, in obtaining 
an engagement to conduct comic opera on 
tour. This I did for a year or two, obtain- 
ing invaluable experience, though the re- 
muneration was small and the life an un 
pleasant one. Naturally, I could not afford 
to live at hotels, and very often I would 
arrive on a Sunday fairly late in the evening, 
leaving my baggage at the station and 
having to hunt for rooms in a large town 
without knowing my way about. Having 
obtained them, 1 often experienced the most 
horrible cooking, and more often suffered 
from dirt. I remember passing a most 
terrible night in one of the big northern 
cities through finding the bed crowded with 
horrible insects. On upbraiding the land- 
lady about it the next morning, it was ex- 
plained to me that an actress had been sleep- 
ing in the bed the previous week, and had as 
her companions two pet dogs. Incidents 
such as these were innumerable, although I 
am led to understand that present-day con- 
ditions have vastly improved, and that the 
life of an actor or actress on tour can be made 
extremely comfortable without going to 
expensive hotels. 

Signor Boito, the famous composer of 
•• Mefistofele " and the man who arranged 
the libretti of '• Otelio " and " Falstaff " fpr 
Verdi, was over in this country, and I was 
invited to a party given by Mr. Albert Visetti 
to meet him. It was on this occasion that 1 
met and made friends with the well-known 
conductor of Covent Garden Opera, Signor 
Luigi Mancinelli. Chiefly through the influ- 
ence of Signor Mancinelli and my father, I 
was engaged by the famous impresario of 
that time, Sir Augustus Harris, who ap- 
pointed me to take up the duties of coach 
and repttiteur at Covent Garden Theatre. 
Although for the next few years I was 
destined to have some of the most heart- 
breaking experiences, some of the most 
awful snubs, and some of the hardest work 
that has ever fallen to the lot of a young man 
of nineteen, I still look back on those days 
as being the most interesting, the most 
valuable, and the most influential of my life. 
I had to be at the theatre every morning at 
ten o'clock, and seldom got away before mid- 
night, while regular meals were literally an 
unknown quantity. During the Opera season 
I believe I did everything except sweeping 
the floors and keeping the place clean. I 
was at everybody's call, and all the work 
that other coaches didn't want or care to do 
was put on my shoulders. By the time six 
months had passed I really felt that I had 
mastered my job. I was sent on a pro- 
vincial operatic tjQur which Harris had 


Landon Ronald 


arranged, the company including the Sisters 
Ravogli (who had created such a furore in 
" Orfeo "), Lucile Hill, David Bispham, 
Joseph O'Mara, and about twenty other 
artistes of all nationalities, a large chorus, and 
orchestra. The tour was a financial failure, 
but it gave me fresh and valuable experience, 
It seems extraordinary, considering the 
enormous success that opera is to-day in 
the provinces, that this tour with such fine 
artistes and a really first-class chorus and 
orchestra should have been a failure. At 
so-called " musical Manchester/ 1 I can 
remember that the night we gave the first 
production of the ' Meistersinger/' that Albert 
Chevalier was giving one of his recitals next 

door at the Free 


Trade Halh The 
* 4 Meistersinger " 
scarcely drew live 
hundred people ; 
Chevalier was 
absolutely packed 
out, and hundreds 
refused at the 

My second season at Coven t Garden proved 
in every way eventful. I was then beginning 
to be recognized by certain of the great 
singers as a capable coach, and Mr, Arthur 
Collins (the present Managing Director of 
Drury Lane Theatre), Augustus Harris's 
stage manager, was extremely kind and took 
the warmest interest in me. He used to 
allow me privileges which he would grant 
to but few, one being that 1 was permitted 
to stand in the " prompt corner " to watch 
the performance when I had nothing else to 
do, so that I could note how all the great 
singers phrased and interpreted their dif- 
ferent r&les. This was the period when the 
De Reszkes were at the height of their fame, 
and the list of artistes engaged included 
almost all the greatest singers of the world, 
I have a list before me now as I write, and 
find that amongst those who were announced 
to appear during this season were Mesdames 
Melba, Albani, Calve, Nordica, Ternina, 
Emma Eames, Ella Russell, Marie Brema, 
and Schumann Heink ; and Messieurs jean 
and Edouard de Re&zke, Tamagno, Van 
Dyck, Alvarez, Maurel, Van Rooy, Plan^on, 
Renaud, Ancona, and De Lucia, I remember 
that the cast that usually appeared in the 
production of ** Romeo and Juliet M in- 
cluded Melba, Jean de Reszke, Edouard de 
Reszke, and Plangon, and 1 can recall a 
unique performance of M Carmen " with Jean 
de Reszke as Don Jose, Calv£ as Carmen, 

The tenor repeated the mistake and nearly put out the entire orchestra. Mancineli 
shouted to him in a raucous voice : * You are veiy bea*t 1 ' 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

Mella as Micaela, and Ancona as Esca- 
millo. Augustus Harris certainly did things 
in the grand manner. He gave the British 
public casts which undoubtedly have never 
been equalled since ; casts which, alas ! 
would be financially prohibitive nowadays, 
even supposing such supreme artistes were 
available. Singers are proverbially the most 
difficult people to deal with, but Augustus 
Harris had the special gift of getting them 
to do anything and everything he wanted. 
He commanded their affection as well as 
their respect. I worked under him for close 
on eight years, and still have in my possession 
my first three years' contract at a salary of 
four pounds, five pounds, and six pounds per 
week. His early and unexpected death was 
a great loss to the operatic world, and left n 
void I do not consider has ever been filled; 

On one occasion at Drury Lane Harris had 
persuaded Mancinelli to direct a few operas 
during the English Opera season. He was 
rehearsing " Lohengrin " with a certain 
English tenor on the morning of the per- 
formance, and he could not be persuaded to 
sing one particular phrase in time. Man- 
cinelli, after much swearing in Italian and 
French (he spoke no English), eventually got 
the unfortunate singer to do it correctly, and 
made him promise to practise it well before 
the night's performance. Sure enough, at 
the performance the tenor repeated the mis- 
take he had made in the morning, and nearly 
put out the entire orchestra. Mancinelli, 
getting very red in the face, shouted to him 
in a raucous voice, ** You are very beast ! "-r- 
a literal translation of " Vous etes trds bete." 

His anger was very violent and short-lived, 
and he had a curiously penetrating, good- 
natured laugh, amazingly like the bleat of a 
nanny-goat. I remember an incident that 
occurred when the Sisters Ravogli were 
cramming the house with their performance 
of Gluck's " Orfeo." Harris had the notion 
that it would be very realistic to have some 
real nanny-goats on the stage in the scene 
depicting the Elysian Plains. I was sitting 
in the stalls with Harris, just behind 
Bevignani, who was conducting, and we 
were eagerly awaiting the effect the stage 
picture would create. Qur expectations 
were surpassed ! In the middle of Sofia 
Ravogli 's solo the nanny-goats began to 
bleat all over the stage ; the audience 
tittered and laughed, and the dramatic effect 
was ruined. Harris told me to rush round 
to Arthur Collins and get the nanny-goats off 
the stage as quickly as ever he could. After 
much signing and pantomime to the fat 
Italian choristers, these wretched animals 
were eventually pulled off amidst a roar of 
laughter from the audience. I went back 
to my seat to find Harris furious. However, 
things settled down again, but to our horror 

by Google 

we heard the bleat in the distance about a 
quarter of an hour after we had believed the 
episode to be closed. Harris got up and 
went on the stage himself, using unparlia- 
mentary language to Arthur Collins and 
asking why the nanny-goats had not been 
taken entirely out of the building. Collins 
assured him that they were out of the build- 
ing, when another bleat was heard. Harris 
shouted furiously, " Why, I can hear one of 
those wretched beasts now!" "Oh, no," 
said Arthur Collins ; •' that's Signor Man- 
cinelli laughing at some story which Calve 
has just told him." It was so. 

Mancinelli could only speak a few sen- 
tences of broken English, but he was only 
one of many members of the company who 
made the most humorous mistakes. I was 
present when the immortal sentence of 
Arditi was shouted by him to a second violin 
who had been arguing with him : " Don't 
shpoke. If you no like, you went ! " 

TO digress from this period for a 
moment, one of the funniest experi- 
ences in connection with foreign pro- 
nunciation of - the English language I had 
in comparatively recent years was when 
I was vainly endeavouring to teach Victor 
Maurel, the famous French baritone, a 
song of mine entitled " Away on the Hill 
there Runs a Stream." His great diffi- 
culty was to aspirate the h in " hill," and 
although I studied it with him for hours 
he ivould sing " ill " instead of " hill." 
Eventually, two days before the concert, we 
got it fairly right, although of course he took 
the usual exaggerated deep breath before 
the aspirate. The day of the concert 
arrived, and I was accompanying him. 
Imagine my agony of mind when, as I was 
playing the introduction of my song, I saw 
beads of perspiration on Maurel's forehead 
as he began to sing. I knew that something 
terrible was going to occur, and it did ! 
He took a deep breath, looked round appeal- 
in gly to me, and at the top of his voice 
shouted for all he was worth : " Haway hon 
the eel ! " 

In 1895 Mme. Melba engaged me as 
conductor of her American tour, notwith- 
standing that up to that time I had chiefly 
acted for her as accompanist. We went 
right through the States and part of Canada 
carrying an excellent orchestra, and in 
addition to a concert programme performed 
scenes from operas in the second half. I 
was away about six months in all, and on my 
return to London received a lesson which 
I shall ever remember. I was then twenty- 
two, so I shall be forgiven if I say that per- 
haps I returned with what I may describe 
as a ,# swollen head." I had certainly hoped 
that the success I had achieved in America 


Landon Ronald 


with the worlds greatest singer would be 
known over here. I was soon to be dis- 
illusioned. The first man who met me said, 
sympathetically, " My dear Ronald, how nice 
to see you again, Have you been ill ? I 
haven't seen you lor months I " Another 
acquaintance was curious to know " what I 
had been doing in America" and on ray enter- 
ing Prury Lane Theatre I found that another 
coach and conductor had been engaged for 
the English Opera season in my absence. 
All this helped to teach me that nobody is 
really missed, that everyone can 
easily be replaced, and that people 
really do not take any interest in 
any success that one may make 
abroad, I think for a 
young artiste to leave 
London for any length 
of time until his or her 
position is actually as- 
sured is a great mis- 
take. The budding 
young professional 
may do well to make 
a note of this, 

The follow- 
ing year my 
ing led me to 
undertake the 
preparation of 
most of the 
great musical 
parties that were 
given at that 
period, and I met 
many valuable 
and useful friends 
and incidentally 
earned a good deal 
of money. It was 
about this time 
that I remember 
being present at 
a large dinner- 
party; my host 
was a bachelor, a 
very famous man 
in society, who en- 
tirely lacked any 
sense of humour 
whatever, I always loved making people 
laugh — I do still to-day — and I told a little 
story on that occasion at my end of the table 
which is a " chestnut lt to-day, but in those 
days and on this particular occasion caused 
much laughter. It was as follows : — 

A man was brought up for stealing. The 
magistrate, addressing the prisoner, said. 

What's your name ? " The prisoner re- 
plied by making a noise somewhat resem- 
bling a sneeze, or the escape of gas. " Wkats 
your name ? " repeated the magistrate in 

Digitized by G( 

firmer tones. The answer was the same, 
only more so, *' Constable," said the magis- 
trate, very much perturbed, *' what is this 
man charged with ? " fi I don't know, yer 
worship," was the reply, " but I should think 
soda -water r My host, who had listened 
with great attention, never smiled and seemed 
amazed at his guests' laughter. After an 
awkward silence of about three minutes, he 
turned to me and said, " Now tell me, 
Ronald, what was that man 'a name, really ? " 
One of those who were present on the 
occasion and revelled in my hosts 
lack of humour was Sir Arthur 
Sullivan. I well remember my first 
meeting with this charming and 
remarkable man, who later in life 
became such a kind and good 
friend, I had written a little 
operetta (to which 1 shall 
refer later) with the undis- 
tinguished title of *' Did you 
Ring ? " and 
it had been 
accepted for 
product ion at 
the Prince 
of Wales 
Theatre. I 
was to have 
about sixteen or 
eighteen in the 
orchestra, Now, 
1 had learnt to 
score for a large 
orchestra from my 
beloved master, 
Sir {then Dr.) 
Hubert Parry, 
d uring my student 
days. But he had 
never thought of 
teaching me to 
write for a smalt 
orchestra — some- 
thing much more 
difficult to do 
really well* So I 
got a letter of 
introduction to Sir 
Arthur Sullivan, 
who, I was told, 
would be willing to help me. I kept my 
appointment with the great little man in 
fear and trembling. He received me de- 
lightfully, placed me at my ease at once, and 
almost made me feel that I was a brother 
colleague of his ! I explained my mission, 
but he told me in the kindest manner that 
he never taught, and advised me to go to a 
friend of his, an admirable musician named 
Ernest Ford, which eventually I did. As I 
was taking leave of Sullivan he asked me if 
I was going to the next Richter concert, I 


At the top of his voice he shouted {or all he 
was worth ; * Haway hon the eel I * " 


Variations on a Personal Theme 

replied in the affirmative. ** Well/' he said, 
*' the wonderful Mozart G minor Synv 
phony is being performed Go and buy a 
pianoforte copy of it : take it with you to 
the concert, listen well to the orchestration, 
and next morning score it yourself from the 
pianoforte copy. Then go and buy Mozart's 
full score, compare it with yours p and you'll 
learn much ! J * It was the most wonderful 
advice. By the time I had finished corn- 
paring Mozart's scoring with mine I felt I 
would never again attempt to write for 
orchestra, small or big ! This advice stands 
as good for to-day as it did many years ago, 
and 1 hope if these lines meet the eyes of any 
music students that they may 
benefit as much from Sir Arthur's 
advice as I did. 

The very last time 1 saw Sullivan 
was at a hi^ private concert givm 
by the late Lord Astor in Carlton 
House Terrace, when the great 
composer was neaiing his end, I Le 
came to me and insisted, rather 
petulantly, that I should call my- 
self Sir Arthur Sullivan and 
he was to call himself Land on 
Ronald for the rest of the 
evening. It was a joke that 
placed me in an awkward 
position, and winch lell 
very flat. I pointed out 
the incongruity of it all to 
him, and he left me quite 
in a pet, affirming that I had no 
sense of humour and would never 
enter into a joke. Alas ! 1 never 
saw him agin"* 

Stories Againit Myself. 

I LOVE telling stories against 
myself, Here are one or two 
for which I can vouch. 
1 sauntered into my club one 
hot afternoon and looked into the 
reading-room, which was rniply 
save for two men— one a famous 
pianist, the other a stranger and one 
of the very ugliest men I have ever set eyes 
upon in my life. 1 scanned the columns of a 
lew newspapers, and was about to leave the 
room, when my pianist friend called me, 
saying, '• Let me introduce you to my friend, 

Mr, X f " We shook hands and 1 thought 

him uglier than ever. He immediately began 
talking about my work at the Albert Hall 
and the Guildhall School of Music in the 
kindest and most flattering terms, and 
indeed there seemed little of my professional 
life of which he was ignorant. After about 
ten minutes of this 1 got rather " fed up/' 
and, pleading that I had to go and telephone, 

Digitized byV^OOQlC 

I asked him to excuse me, He at once burst 
forth, - * I can't tell you how delighted I am, 
Mr, Landon Ronald, to have met you, as for 
years I have been a great admirer of yours. 
Quite apart from that, I must tell you that 
I was very anxious to know you, as I am 
always being mistaken for you } fi 

The ugliness of my physiognomy has more 
than once teen brought home to me, hut 
never more forcibly than by a certain 
photographer. And it happened thus : I 
had just been appointed Principal of the 
Guildhall School of Music, when one of the 
weekly illustrated papers (for the life of me 
I cannot remember which) wrote and asked 

" Back he went to 
his cameia, placing a 
black cloth on his 
head, when I heard a 
plaintive little voice 
ejaculate: ' Oh, my 
Gawd t no ! That** 
worse than ever I * ** 

mc if they might include me in a series of 
11 Celebrities at Home J ' interviews they were 
publishing, and that if I consented they 
would send one of their own photographers 
to take portraits of myself, my study, etc. 
I agreed to all this and the appointment was 
duly made. Punctual to the minute, a little 
red- nosed man arrived on a very hot June 
flay, dressed in a long black coat, white 
waistcoat, green tie. brown boots, and a 
sailor's hat ! He got to work qnicklv, taking 
portraits of various nooks and comers of my 
house, w ith obvious satisfaction to himself ; 
fixed his camera inimv study, and informed 


Landon Ronald 


me that now it was my turn to be taken. 
The poor little chap posed mc in every 
imaginable position, made me sit down and 
stand up, placed me against the mantelpiece, 
asked me to smile, to iold my arms, to look 
serious, and after e?.ch attempt sighed and 
murmured, 'Oh, dear; oh, dear/' I began 
to feel quite unhappy and uncomfortable 
myself, when 1 saw a light come into his 
eyes and, with a triumphant smile and a 
Cockney accent, he said, " I've got it ! Go 
to your desk, Mr. Ronald, sit down with 
some manuscript paper before you, and look 
as if you were a-trying to make up one of 
those pretty little songs of yours." I was 
out to get this trying interview over, so 
promptly did what he tokl me, with the 

result that my profile was turned to him. 
Back he went to his camera, placing a black 
cloth on his head, when I heard a plaintive 
little voice ejaculate: "Gh, my Gawd, no! 
That's worse than ever ! " The interview 
ended by my giving him a portrait I had by 
me and begging him not to trouble any more. 
Many of the musical public of to-day, 
who only know me either as conductor or 
composer, or as being the head 'of a school of 
music, may be surprised to hear that twenty 
years ago I held a prominent place among 
the accompanists of that period. From 
1904 to about 1910 I was the sole accom- 
panist of Dame Nellie Melba, and I believe 
I am right in saying that she deeply regretted 
the fact that my other work made it impos- 
sible for me to continue playing for her. 
About two years had elapsed since I had 
accompanied her p when one day I had a tele- 
gram from her asking me to calk She in- 
formed me that she was going on a tour with 
her impresario ( Mr. Percy Harrison) through 
the English provinces and that her accom- 
panist from Paris was unable to come, and 
wanted to know if I could possibly go along 


with her, just to play her numbers and do 
nothing else, As a bait, she informed me she 
was singing a small group of my songs in the 
middle of the programme. She was far too 
dear and precious a friend for me to fail her 
when she really wanted me, so I agreed at 

Scenes of triumph were repeated in every 
town we visited— with one notable excep- 
tion. Wild horses would not extract the 
name from me, but I may just add that the 
town in question is better known as a great 
industrial centre than for its cultivation of 
music. Not that the people didn't crowd to 
hear Melba. They literally packed the hall, 
and extra seats had to be placed on the plat- 
form, right next to the grand piano ; but 
the great enthusiasm was lacking, and Melba 
knew it. She bowed very coldly and was 
received verv coldly. Her first item was 
M A fors I 'lui/' from M Traviata." The 
applause was dignified and re- 
strained ; so was Melba '5 acknow- 
ledgment. After expressing her 
opinion of the audience to me in 
no uncertain terms, f thought I 
would comfort her by saying, 
14 Wait until you sing my group of 
songs ! You won't get a hand/ 1 
My pTOphecy, alas ! was fulfilled, 
and I left the platform feeling like 
the criminal does when he leaves the 
dock after the jury have found 
him "Guilty." Her last item was 
the Mad Scene from H1 Lucia " with flute 
obbligato, and I think I may safely say that 
no one ever sang this aria in any way 
approaching Dame Nellie Melba. The result 
was electrical, even on this stodgy audience, 
They shouted and stamped and roared and 
cheered, until, after bowing five or six times, 
she consented to sing Tosti's "Good-bye." 
Now, I must just explain here that I had 
played this song for years by memory for 
her, just as I played my own songs without 
music, so that I didn't dream of taking the 
music with me on this particular occasion. I 
sat down at the pianoforte and was just about 
to begin, when a woman sitting very near 
me on my left said, in a very raucous voice, 
'* Eh, lad, it's a shame ! We're going to 
'ave more of 'is stuff ! " 

WHEN I succeeded Mr. Mylanarski as 
conductor of the Scottish Orchestra 
in November, 1910,* I made my dibut 
in Glasgow with many misgivings and fears. 
I had only paid flying visits there, and 
had heard that the Glasgow people were 
slow in making new friends. However, 
everything went off with great 6clat> and 
I felt it wouldn't be very long before 
the audience and myself would be on 
the friendliest terms. That has certainly 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

turned out to be the case, as is proved 
by the fact that on the last night of the 
season the entire audience sang " For He's a 
Jolly Good Fellow " and " Auld Lang Syne." 
This was the first experience I had ever had 
of the kind, and it touched me deeply. 
Returning, however, to that first evening, 
I had shaken hands and said good-bye to the 
committee, and was just about to enter my 
taxi, when two little girls, with very red hair, 
asked me to sign their autograph book. " I 
shall have to do it in pencil," said I. " That's 
all right," said the elder, with an accent you 
could cut with a knife. The book being duly 
signed, I returned it to the girl, who, after 
looking at it, asked me in a very disappointed 
tone, " Aren't you Mr. Mylanarski ? " " No," 
said I, with my most amiable smile ; " my 
name is Landon Ronald." The girl turned 
to her companion and said, " Have you got 
the india-rubber, Jean ?" 

ANOTHER story which I am very fond of 
J-^ telling against myself, and which I have 
recounted so often in public that I fear it 
will be a " chestnut " to many, occurred to me 
soon after I was appointed Principal of the 
Guildhall School of Music. All the City 
Companies vied with one another to enter- 

tain me, a kindness which I deeply appre- 
ciated. I received an invitation to attend 
a banquet given in honour of the Fine Arts — 
I believe by the Drapers' Company. Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie (the Principal of the 
Royal Academy of Music) had promised to 
propose the toast of " Music/' and I was to 
be in that blissful position of not having to 
speak at all. On my arrival at their superb 
hall, I was met on the staircase by the clerk, 
who informed me that Sir Alexander 
Mackenzie had sent a wire saying that illness 
prevented, his attendance, and that it de- 
volved on me, as an official of the City, to 
propose the toast in his stead. This came 
as a great shock, and incidentally spoilt my 
appetite. However, with the help of some 
admirable food and some good Scotch whisky, 
I was beginning to feel " fit for the fight " as 
the time drew near for me to speak. I had 
written down certain notes on the back of 
the menu, and was just taking my final " wee 
drappie," when the Master of the Cere- 
monies, who was an enormous man with a 
long black beard, came and touched me on 
the shoulder and said, in a fairly audible 
whisper, " Mr. Landon Ronald, will you 
make your speech now, or let the guests enjoy 
themselves a little longer ? " 

Next month's "Variations" will be: "The First Time I Conducted" — 
" On Accompanying at Windsor and Balmoral." 


Next month's number of " The Strand Magazine " will contain 

" The Problem of Thor Bridge/ 



Other important features in early numbers will be : — 

1. "The Lift," by A. CONAN DOYLE. Described as "a real 


2. "Taking Pains,' by W. W. JACOBS. 

3. ARNOLD BENNETT'S new series of articles, entitled 

"How to Make the Best of Life." 

The "JEEVES " series by P. G. WODEHOUSE will be resumed next 
month with a specially amusing story. 


— rtqin a l fro — 



IE features 
of Mr, Hart- 
ley Pope, 
sitting back 

in the corner of 

a first-class com* 

partment on the 

547 p.m. down to 

Wold i n gt on T bore 

an expression of 

dignified reserve. 

From 10 a.m. to 

5.30 p,m. each 

day — with per* 

haps a slight 

relaxation during 

the luncheon in- 
terval — that expression 

Many years before he 



rarely changed, 
had adopted it, 
together with a morning coat, a collar with 
wide flaps, a silk hat, and a brown leather 
dispatch-case, as, so to say, part of the livery 
in which he conducted his business. 

As the result of long usage, it had tended 
to encroach on his private existence, and 
although his sister, who kept house for him, 
had never been deceived, many other of his 
associates were inclined to the view that Mr. 
Pope was a rather unapproachable individual. 

It was not the truth. Mr. Pope was as 
human as the most human of us. His 
favourite drink was bitter, his favourite 
newspaper was a picture one — though he 
read the Financial Times — his favourite 
form of theatrical entertainment, the revue. 
He had an eye for a pretty woman and a 
great relish for anecdotes — that story about 
the barmaid and the jockey (you remember ?) 
was part of his social stock-in-trade. 

In the corner obliquely opposite him sat a 
girl. She was clothed in a neat tailor-made 
of striped navy cashmere, a small hat of 
brown velvet, brown shoes, and, over shapely 
ankles and equally shapely calves, brown silk 
stockings. Without appearing to do so, 
Mr. Pope had observed her ankles and her 

by Google 

• ■ 

silk stockings, and 
very cursorily 
glanced at her 

It was while he 
was studying her 
features that she 
looked up and 
caught his eye. 
Mr. Pope blushed. 
They had travelled 
together on that 
train each evening 
for six months, 
but had never 
spoken. But to 
cover up his con- 
fusion Mr. Pope observed pleasantly across 
the carriage :— 

+ " A nice evening I " 

The girl received his overture in chilly 
silence, and Mr. Pope blushed more deeply 
still. He was hurt and humiliated. A 
young officer next to him giggled. Mr. Pope 
raised his paper, and for a time pretended 
to be engrossed in a particularly gruesome 
murder ' story Jl on the front page. 

But his thoughts were elsewhere- He 
was wondering angrily what he had done to 
deserve such treatment. If that fool of a 
young officer next to him had made the 
remark it would, he was sure, have been 
received in a very different spirit. 

Yet this was only one of many incidents 
that had occurred recently to disturb Mr. 
Pope's serenity. He was being made to 
realize that he had reached the age when a 
man is supposed to have finished and done 
with the lighter, pleasanter things of life — - 
neat ankles and silk stockings, trim figures 
and pretty faces — all that goes to give 
£est to the game of living — in a word, 

He was supposed to have finished with all 
that — had his fling and settled down — he, 
Mr. Pope, who had hardly ever thought of 

Original from 



Dinner at Seven-Thirty 

such a thing — never, in fact, since that day, 
twelve years ago, when 

The train ran into a station — its only stop 
until it reached Wol cling ton— and all the 
other occupants of the compartment alighted. 
Mr* Pope generally had his 
carriage to himself thence 
onwards, for the 5.47 was 
a ■■ fast " train. He fol- 
lowed with his eyes the 
young lady of the ankles as 
she walked along the plat- 
form, until the train began 
to move again* Then he 
turned half -reluctantly to his 
Evening Standard, 

Outside on the platform 
somebody shouted, and the 
next moment the door of his 
carriage was flung open. A 
young man, rather excited 
and very breathless, stumbled 
in, without bothering to shut 
the door after him, and, fling- 
ing a brown leather case he 
carried on to the rack, dropped 
into the opposite corner, Mr. 
Pope himself pulled the door 
to + 

" Cut it rather fine/* the 
young man observed, cheer* 
fully. He was rather a 
pleasant-looking young fel- 
low, about twenty-four years 
of age. He was wearing a 
straw hat, a light grey suit, 
which showed signs of wear, 
soft collar, and brown brogue 
shoes, A bank clerk possibly, 
Mr. Pope thought, or perhaps 
an architect's draughtsman or 
an authorized clerk on the 
Stock Exchange. Mr. Pope 
preserved his expression of 
aloofness and murmured ■— 
Ah I Yes + " 

The young man glanced 

" George ! " he remarked, 
" I J m in a First, " He grim- 
aced. *' With a third-class 

Mr # Pope decided at once 
that he was neither a bank 
clerk nor a draughtsman nor 
a Stock Exchange clerk. He might lie a 
gentleman or he might be a humble employe 
in a commercial counting-house. None of 
the other possibilities would have so frankly 
admitted that third-class ticket, Mr. Pope 
felt a slight glow of approval. 

" Since we don J t stop till Woldington/' he 
observed, L you won't be worried by ticket- 
inspectors for a little while, anyhow." 

The young man sat up with a jerk. 

" Wold in g ton ! " he exclaimed* " Isn't 
this the London train ? " 

The question being so obviously futile, he 
did not wait for an answer* 

I'm going to pull the communitation*cord. It would be 

' George ! " he said. " What an ass ! " 

Mr. Pope opened out his paper, if Rather 
awkward/' he murmured, non-committally. 

The young man stood up. " I say ! " he 
observed, •• it's worse than that. It's a bally 
tragedy/' Dismay was written all over him* 
He thought for a minute, Then he looked at 
Mr. Pope. 

" I tell y^jgftrtiTr^ftsaid. " I'm going 


H- W, Leggetc 


to pull the communication-cord ^ It would 
be cheap at five pounds. I've got a most 
important appointment in town at half- past 
six, with dinner at seven-thirty." 
He put up his hand. 

" I could jump out before the train 
stopped/' the young man interrupted, 

Mr. Pope drew down the corners of his 
mouth, a facial contortion peculiarly effec- 
tive, and the young man allowed his arm to 



cheap at five pounds. I've got a most important appointment in town at half-past six/* 

- I don't think I 
you/ 1 Mr. Pope 

should do that if I were 
remarked, " It would 
probably mean more delay. They'd arrest 
you and want to know all about it. They 
might take you along to the next station and 
lock you up for the night." 

The young man hesitated, " D'you think 
they would ? M 

** 1 knew a man once— - " Mr. Pope began. 


drop to his side. He looked out of the 
window, and Mr. Pope knew he was wonder- 
ing what his chances were if he leapt from 
the carriage on to the permanent way. 

Mr. Pope dismissed the young man and 
resumed the broken thread of his rumina- 

Twelve years ago Mr. Pope had, by the 
narrowest of chances, missed a romance of 
Original from 



Dinner at Seven-Thirty 

his own. Her name was Julienne Ferris, 
and she lived near Mr. Pope, but in a very 
much smaller house. She lived with her aunt, 
and Mr. Pope met her occasionally in the 
afternoons at the local tennis club. Several 
times he had accompanied her home. 

No more than that. Mr. Pope had been 
rather shy as a young man in the presence of 
ladies. Besides, he knew what his parents' 
views would have been on the subject of an 
alliance — a misalliance — with Miss Ferris. 
Nevertheless, after a terrific emotional and 
mental storm which lasted a week, he had 
resolved to throw prudence to the winds and 
declare himself — to offer to Miss Julienne — 
he called her Julie in his thoughts — his hand 
and heart, and by no means insignificant, 
though prospective, fortune. 

A week before, however, Julie, who was 
partly French, and spoke the language like a 
native, had accepted a post as English mis- 
tress in a Belgian girls' school, and on the 
day Mr. Pope reached his momentous 
decision she left England. 

Mr. Pope remembered the day almost as 
though it had been yesterday. It was in 
November, and* a thick fog overspread 
London. Julienne had been accompanied 
to Victoria by her aunt — her sole surviving 
relative — and there handed over to the 
Belgian lady who had engaged her. On her 
way from Victoria to Charing Cross, after 
seeing her niece off, the aunt had been 
knocked down by a brewer's dray and killed, 
and, as she alone had Julienne's address and 
appeared to have trusted to her memory to 
retain it, Mr. Pope was prevented, at least 
for the time being, from even writing to 

He had heard nothing of her since. Such 
things frequently occur. A single broken 
link in the chain of circumstance that binds 
us one to another, and a friend may be com- 
pletely lost sight of for many years, if not 
for ever. A short time afterwards his 
mother and father had died within three 
months of each other, leaving his sister 
to keep hpuse for him. He had taken a 
seat on the board of the company with 
which his chief investments were concerned, 
and had rapidly found the business to 
demand a large part of his day. He had 
taken a commission in the Territorials. 

From the age of twenty — when Julie had 
gone away — up to the time when the war 
came — Mr. Pope had led an extremely active 
and full life. During the war, too, his 
thoughts had been pretty well occupied. 

It was only since his return that this sense 
of something lacking — this consciousness of 
the passing of the years and of opportunities 
lost — had begun to bother him. 

If only he had not let Julie go ! If he had 
not so confidingly trusted to luck to re- 


establish communication with her ! If he 
had not dallied so long over making up his 
mind ! 

HE sat up with a jerk to realize that his 
fellow-traveller was addressing him. 
" Reach Woldington ? " he echoed, 
in response to the other's question. •' Let 
me see, six-thirty, I believe. Yes, of course, 

" Surely your friends will wait ? " he 

The young man leaned forward. 

" It isn't friends," he said, miserably. 
" It's a friend, a lady. I was to meet her by 
the bookstall. You can't leave a girl stand- 
ing by a bookstall for an hour or more all 
alone. Why, anything might happen ! She'd 
have men speaking to her ! Why I " 

" It is awkward," Mr. Pope agreed. 

The young man's cheerful, boyish face had 
become almost haggard. ' Why, some bally 
porter or something might ask her to move 
on ! " He looked out of the window again. 
" Besides, she wouldn't wait." 

" Well," Mr. Pope suggested, ' perhaps, 
after all, in the circumstances " 

The young man was on his feet again. 
" Good God ! " he exclaimed, passionately, 
'• that's just the point — the circumstances, I 
mean. If it weren't — if this had happened 
at any other time — I wouldn't mind. At 
least, not so much. But to-night ! : ' 

M Sit down," Mr. Pope said. He flung his 
paper on to the seat and the young man sat 
down obediently. " Now let's think what 
can be done. There's an up train leaves 
Woldington about five minutes before this 
train gets in. After that there's not another 
train for half an hour. Unfortunately, the 
up train is a slow one. Still " 

He leaned forward. *' Just outside Weald- 
stone Road — that's the station before Wold- 
ington — we shall slow up crossing the points. 
We always do slow up there — it's an awkward 
bend. If you could manage to jump out 
you'd just be able to get back to Wealdstone 
Road in time to catch the up train there. 
That would get you up before half-past 

The young man shook his head. Plainly 
he was itching to be communicative — to 
lay his heart and soul bare with the dis- 
arming ingenuousness of youth. He saw his 
opportunity now. 

" It's awfully decent of you to be so 
interested," he said, "and perhaps you 
think I'm kicking up a frightful fuss about a 
little thing. But the fact is " 

He looked at Mr. Pope and flushed youth- 

" It isn't as though I was just taking her 
out somewhere for the evening," he said. 
*' The fact is f we're to be married to-morrow. 


H. W. Leggett 


Only her old brute of a father won't hear of 
it* And she's running away." 

Mr. Pope looked rather more severe than 
he had looked for the past ten minutes. 
Running away this evening and getting 
married to-morrow was not in accordance 
with his views of the right order of events. 
He didn't so much object to the running 
away. Indeed, the idea rather appealed to 
him. It was solacing to think that even in 
the twentieth century romance was not 
entirely dead. But you had to draw a line 

The young man may have divined his 
scruples, for he explained hurriedly : — 

"I'm taking her along to a married sister 
of mine for the night, and we're to be married 
at a registry office first thing to-morrow 

Mr. Pope's features relaxed. 

" The devil of it is," the young man went 
on, " she's not the sort of girl to be left about 
on a station for an hour." 

" She wouldn't stand for it ? " Mr. Pope 
suggested, and the looseness of his phrase- 
ology was the measure of his warm personal 
interest in the affair. 

*• Yes, that, and — well, you know, she 
isn't the sort of girl a man passes without a 
second glance. Jolly nice looking and smart, 
and all that sort of thing." 

° Distingute," Mr. Pope hinted. 

" Yes. Just that. There are women, you 
know " 

'" Yes." Mr. Pope suddenly found himself 
thinking of Julie. She was certainly dis- 
tinguie. Very. The sort of woman you 
could be proud of being seen with. If she'd 
only a father to oppose the match, Mr. Pope 
felt he'd quite enjoy running off with her. 

The young man was enlarging on his 
theme. " Such a sporting kid, too," he was 
saying. "I'm as poor as a church mouse. 
My governor kicked the bucket last year and 
left me pretty much on the rocks. And her 
governor's quite well off. That's the silly 
part of it. Wants her to marry a little 
blighter of a chap in the margarine trade, 
just because he's got a bank balance as big 
as the North Sea. So you can understand 
I feel pretty sick at letting her down." 

Mr. Pope suddenly crossed his legs and 
picked up his paper. He had just had a 
brilliant inspiration, but it was not his habit 
to betray his excitement. 

" I suppose this young lady you refer to — 
if she knew what had happened — would 
manage to keep herself occupied till you 
arrived ? " 

For a moment the young man looked 

startled. " Why " he began, and then 

hastily substituted : " Oh, of course ! " He 
added : f * What I'm afraid of is that when I 
don't turn up she'll be in such a stew that 

by L^OOglC 

she'll simply clear off home again. And 
she'll never forgive me. You can quite 
understand it, can't you ? She's supposed 
to be staying the night with a friend of the 
family, but the friend doesn't know anything 
about it." 

He became very miserable. " I say, it's 
jolly decent of you to be so sympathetic and 
all that," he observed, " but I don't really 
see " 

•' You think you'll be able to jump out of 
the train all right when we slow down, and 
catch the other at Wealdstone Road ? " Mr. 
Pope interrupted. 

" Lord, yes ! " the young man replied, " if 
it slows down to anything below ten miles an 
hour. But I don't see " 

" Then," said Mr. Pope, " suppose when 
I get to Woldington I call up the Station 
Hotel at the other end and get the head- waiter 
to find your friend and tell her what's hap- 
pened ? How would that do ? " 

HE turned over his paper casually, while 
he waited for the acknowledgment of 
this brilliant suggestion. It came, and 
it was adequate. The young man's face ex- 
pressed wonder, surprise, conviction, relief, 
joy, and thankfulness in rapid succession, 
and when he found his voice it was to utter 
14 By Jove ! " with such an abandonment of 
admiration that Mr. Pope was more than 

" Tell me," said Mr. Pope, '* what she will 
be wearing. I shall have to describe her. 
Fortunately, I know the head-waiter at the 
Station Hotel, but I'm afraid I could hardly 
ask him to interrogate any young woman who 
happened to be waiting at the bookstall." 

Again, for a moment, the young man 
looked unaccountably perturbed. " Well," 
he said, hastily pulling himself together, " I 
expect sheil be wearing the togs she's to be 
married in. Sort of fairly light grey costume 
with buttons, grey sudde shoes and stockings, 
and one of those topping little hats with quill 
things sticking out — green, I think it is." 

He looked a little doubtfully at Mr. Pope. 
" I think I could describe her better than her 
clothes," he observed. 

Mr. Pope nodded absently. He was re- 
calling Julie as he had seen her for the last 
time. Julie had been fond of grey — a light 
grey, smart and well tailored — but, of course, 
in her day sudde shoes had not been generally 
worn. And hats were large then. He liked 
large hats. Not but that some of these small 
toque things were quite effective. He remem- 
bered having seen Julie in a toque once — a 
toque of grey fur. She had been perfectly 
adorable. He felt rather superior when he 
recalled the young man's very vague descrip- 
tion of his fiancte's clothes. He remembered 
that when he had been for a walk with Julie 
Ur I Q I n d I TrQ m 


4 6 

Dinner at Seven-Thirty 

he could describe her apparel down to the 
number of buttons on her jacket. It had 
been expected in those days. But now 

" Not that she's thin, either," he heard 
the young man droning on. * But she's not 
the sort ever to get fat." 

The young man looked at Mr. Pope 
earnestly. * Oh, but hang it all ! " he said, 
in a sudden burst of irresistible frankness, 
" a fellow doesn't fall in love with a girl's 
figure, does he ? As long as she's not abso- 
lutely a frump ! The thing is the girl her- 
self, the way she looks at you, the way she 
thinks about things, the funny little thrill 
you get when her hair just brushes across 
your face or when she puts her hand on your 
arm to prevent your doing some damn silly 
thing or other. I tell you, since I've known 
Pippa — that's my name for her, you know, 
Pippa Passes sort of thing — since I've known 
her I've done things I never thought I could 
do. I've practically knocked off swearing, 
I've " 

Mr. Pope looked at his watch osten- 
tatiously. The young man's confidences 
made him the slightest bit uncomfortable. 
He questioned if this were not carrying 
ingenuousness a step too far. 

The boy saw the movement. " Where 
are we ? " he asked. 

The engine's whistle sounded shrilly and 
they flashed through a station. Then the 
speed began perceptibly to slacken. 

"Thought so," Mr. Pope said. ' Now's 
the time." He looked at his companion. 
" D'you think you'll manage it ? " he asked, 
anxiously. He was surprised to find himself 
getting quite worked up. ' There's a board 
beside the line which says something about 
■ five miles an hour when passing over points.' 
But it's a bit of a jump." 

The young man was supremely confident. 
gi Trust me," he said. He reached up to the 
rack above Mr. Pope's head and took down 
the case. Then he held out his hand. " You 
don't know how much I'm indebted to you," 
he said. ' I hope " 

Mr. Pope shook his head perfunctorily. 
' You'd better take the other door," he 
remarked. '* The guard will be watching 
on this side. 'Ware the up train. I think 
now is just about the moment." 

THE train had dropped into a crawl, 
and jerked as it passed over the 
points. Mr. Pope opened the farther 
door of the carriage and stepped aside for 
the other to pass. The young man twisted 
himself out of the door on to the footboard 
and coolly closed the door after him. 

Mr. Pope put his head through the open 
window. * By the way," he shouted — for 
the engine's exhaust was being passed 
through the furnace as the train began to 

Digitized by v-iOOJ? IC 

gather speed again — "hadn't you better tell 
me your young woman's name, so that the 
waiter " 

The young man, on the point of jumping, 
shouted something that Mr. Pope did not 
catch, and leapt. 

Mr. Pope involuntarily shut his eyes for a 
second. When he opened them he saw the 
young man stumble to his knees in the track 
between the two lines of rails below, stagger 
to his feet, wave a hand towards the train, 
and then turn and begin to run. 

Mr. Pope dropped on to the seat and passed 
his handkerchief across his perspiring brow. 
Then he noticed a slip ot paper on the floor — 
evidently pulled out ot his pocket by the 
young man. He picked it up. It was a 
rather pressing demand from a tailor for a 
long overdue account, and was directed to 
Mr. Gregory Haviland at an address in 
North-west London. Mr. Pope smiled, and 
put the slip of paper in his waistcoat pocket. 

: Plucky young beggar ! " he muttered. 
What it was to be young ! Not, of course, 
that he himself was old. Far from it. Five 
years older than Julie ? Ah, but after 
thirty a man aged so much more slowly than 
a woman. A man was as young as he felt, 
and Mr. Pope felt very young just then. 

He compared himself with George Sitwell, 
his next-door neighbour, left a widower on 
the birth of his first — and therefore only : — 
child. Sitwell couldn't be much over thirty- 
five. Yet Mr. Pope could give him points 
in all directions. Sitwell was the Head 
Master at the County School in Woldington, 
and his sole interest in life outside of school 
lay in his collection of foreign stamps. That 
very afternoon Mr. Pope had attended a sale 
on his behalf and paid out the ridiculous sum 
of three hundred pounds for a set of a dozen 
examples of the Bagdad Occupation issue. 

Sitwell, good Lord ! Imagine Sitwell in 
the situation Mr. Pope had just handled with 
such resourcefulness ! The fellow would 
simply have sat stock still in bis place and 
looked lugubrious. Foreign stamps ! Sitwell 
lacked mental vigour, that was what was the 
matter with him. And he could give Mr. Pope 
a good six years in point of age ! 

At Woldington he got out and crossed 
the footbridge. By the booking-office on 
the up side there was a telephone call- 
box. Mr. Pope entered, placed his bag on 
the floor, lifted the receiver, and gave a 
number. It was the number of the Station 
Hotel. Mr. Pope knew it. He had stayed 
at the Station Hotel on a number of occa- 
sions when he had missed the last train in 
the evening after a theatre. Also when he 
had wished to catch a very early train down 
to the South Coast at E Aster and such times. 
There was, indeed, a small private dining- 
room at the Station Rote! that Mr. Pope had 


H. W. Leggett 


Mr. Pope involuntarily shut his eyes. When he opened them he saw the young man 
stumble to his knees between the tines ct miU below." 


4 8 

Dinner at Seven-Thirty 

engaged for the evening on two occasions 
during an otherwise blameless twelve years. 

Mr. Pope asked to be permitted to speak 
to Saunders, the head-waiter. Saunders 
came to the 'phone, and Mr. Pope briefly 
outlined to him the little contretemps he 
counted on Saunders to put right. 

And as he was talking a brilliant idea came 
to him. 

" Oh ! And look here, Saunders," he 
remarked, " these young people are — er — 
sort of pYoUgies of mine. I'd like to do 
something to give them a sort of send-off, 
you know — because I can't be there per- 
sonally." The last was a hasty extemporiza- 
tion for Saunders's benefit. 

*'• So, I say, Saunders, I want you to give 
'em a nice little feed at my expense — you 
know, perhaps a few oysters to begin with 
wouldn't be a bad notion. And a bottle of 
that Chateau Loudenne. I leave it to you 
to do them well." 

He chuckled to himself. This was a good 
scheme. He could see himself repeating the 
story — to his sister first of all when he felt in 
a provocative mood, and then to one or two 
men who went up in the morning by his 
train. Then, perhaps, to his co-directors 
after the next board meeting. Ah ! and to 
old Sitwell. It would make a good story. 

A further refinement suggested itself as 
peculiarly appropriate to the occasion — 
though he thought he'd miss this out in 
repeating the story to his sister. 

" You there, Saunders ? Well, look here, 
suppose you serve them in that little private 
room on the first floor. You know. The 
room with the piano. Put a few flowers on 
the table and the sideboard. And perhaps, 
instead of the claret, you might make it 
champagne. Eh ! What's that ? No, I 
haven't finished ! Damn ! " 

Mr. Pope's expletive fell harmlessly into 
the unresponsive mouthpiece. He had had 
his three minutes and the line was dis- 

For a moment or two he hesitated. There 
were several things he had wanted to explain 

to Saunders. As to tips And, of 

course, his name had better not be men- 
tioned. And then 

F>R the third time that evening Mr. Pope 
had an inspiration. Why should he not 
run up to town and join the little party ? 
— even if he only got in at the death. After all, 
he was the host, and it was hardly in keep- 
ing for him to remain absent from the whole 
proceedings. Besides, might not his presence 
do something towards enlivening the occa- 
sion ? It has already been observed that 
Mr. Pope was not entirely without those 
arts of social intercourse that may do so 
much to banish the twin demons of boredom 

Digitized by V^OQglG 

and restraint when two or three are gathered 
together round a festive board. 

Mr. Pope imagined himself proposing a 
toast — " The bride and bridegroom of the 
morrow ! " He revolved in his mind a few 
felicitous phrases suitable to the occasion. 
Nor would he neglect the more serious side 
of the great undertaking in which these two 
young people were about jointly to engage. 

Whole he wandered up and down the empty 
platform waiting for the next up train he 
thought again of his own life and its blasted 
promise, and a well-worn couplet occurred to 
him : — 

Tis better to have loved and lost 
Than never to have loved at all. 

He would quote that to them ; but he would 
round it out, complete it, with a couplet of 
his own composed on the spot — which had 
the additional merit of rhyming : — 

Tis better still to love and keep, 
Though joy and sorrow both you reap. 

The train came in as he hit upon the 
second line, but most of the way up to town 
his thoughts were occupied with alternative 
rhymes, thus : — 

Tis better still to love and keep 
Till life is rounded with a sleep. 

Finally, however, he decided that his first 
choice was the best and most appropriate to 
the circumstances. 

When at length the train drew into the 
terminus Mr. Pope could hardly restrain his 
eagerness to meet his young prot6g6es t as he 
chose to consider them. Hurrying past the 
ticket-collector, he made straight for the 
Station Hotel. In the vestibule he button- 
holed a passing waiter without ceremony or 

•' Where's Saunders ? " he demanded. •' I 
want Saunders. Send him to me." 

He stood there restlessly tattooing with 
his foot on the floor — a rather excited, 
flurried Mr. Pope, with his silk hat not quite 
straight, his bag and umbrella in one hand 
and his evening paper, very crumpled and 
creased, in the other. Very little of his 
habitual austerity of appearance remained. 
And the sparkle of anticipation in his eyes 
gave him an almost youthful look that some- 
how did not completely fit in with the more 
impersonal elements of his exterior. 

After a few moments he was made aware 
of Saunders's presence at his left elbow by a 
deferential ** Good evening, sir." 

He turned sharply and drew the head- 
waiter into a more secluded part of the foyer. 

" Ah ! Saunders, good evening. Er — you 
attended to that little matter, Saunders ? " 

Saunders was perfectly imperturbable. 

" Yes, sir." 

" Everything ?ll l3 |r^^ T| eh ? They cut us 


H. W, Leggett 


off in the middle. I hadn't finished. I 
wanted to tell you, Saunders, not to accept 
anything in the way of tips. I'll see to 
all that. And perhaps, if you haven't 
mentioned it already, it would be as well 
to keep my name out of it. You see, 
Saunders " 

Mr. Pope broke off in some confusion, 
realizing that by some means or other he was 
not maintaining strict consistence. Saunders 
helped him out. 

" Just so, sir. But I'm sorry, sir, the lady 
wouldn't listen to me until I mentioned your 

" Really ! " Mr. Pope could not conceal 
his surprise. 

" Yes, sir. But as soon as I 6aid Mr. Pope, 
sir, she became, as you might say, another 
person. Quite pleasant and affable. * Mr. 
Hartley Pope ? ' she inquired, and when I 
said that was your name she smiled, and 
came with me quite docile. She said she 
didn't know what it was all about, but if it 
was Mr. Hartley Pope it was all right." 

Mr. Pope remained bewildered, but he did 
not choose that Saunders should observe it, 
and he murmured, hastily : — 

" Ah, no doubt. She would recognize the 
name. Knows the company probably — 
Hartley Pope and Knight." 

He broke off. 

" And the young man, Saunders ? I sup- 
pose " he inquired, suddenly. 

" He hasn't turned up yet, sir. The 
young lady's up there alone, waiting for him. 
The room's all ready, sir, just as you said, 
and I asked her if she'd like anything to 
drink just to pass the time like, but she said 
' No.' So I gave her some magazines and 
she seemed quite happy, sir, sitting on the 

•' Good heavens ! Saunders ! " Mr. Pope 
interposed, " you don't mean to say she's 
been waiting all this time up there alone ? " 

"Well, sir " Saunders was mildly 

indignant at the suggestion of rebuke in Mr. 
Pope's voice. He pointed out that he could 
hardly have offered to keep her company, 
besides having his duties to attend to. 

*' That's quite all right, Saunders," Mr. 
Pope remarked, consolingly. "I'm not 
blaming you. But it's very unfortunate." 

He pondered a moment. " I think I'd 
better go up and see this — er — young 

Saunders led the way, but at the door of 
the private dining-room Mr. Pope paused. 
'• You've made no mistake, Saunders, I 
hope ? " he said. -i The description was a 
little vague and loose, I'm afraid." 

Saunders looked at him stolidly. •' Green 
hat, grey costume, neat figure, silk stock- 
ings," he said. *' That's what you said, sir, 
as far as I remember." 


•• Quite right, Saunders," Mr. Pope re- 
sponded. •* By the way, did you notice her 
age ? She should be about twenty-four, I 

He had given up all attempt to deceive 
Saunders as to his familiarity with the lady. 

Saunders shook his head sagaciously. " I 
never was no good at guessing a lady's age, 
sir," he remarked. " She might be twenty- 
four — or then, again, she might be thirty- 

■* Thirty-six, Saunders ! " 

" She might be. I don't say she is." 

Saunders was more stolid than ever, and 
Mr. Pope was rapidly becoming a bundle of 
nerves. He drew out a pocket-handkerchief 
and blew his nose loudly. 

* I think I'd better go in now, Saunders," 
he said, in a slightly weary tone. " Perhaps 
you'll announce me." 

Saunders opened the door and stepped 
inside, his form blocking out Mr. Pope. 

" Excuse me, miss," he said, •' Mr. Pope 
has arrived and is here." He spoke rather 
pompously, then stood aside for Mr. Pope to 
enter,' and rapidly withdrew. 

THE little room in which Mr. Pope found 
himself was not, as has been explained, 
entirely unfamiliar to him. But he had 
never seen it so attractively arranged as this 
evening. The small round table was set 
for two, and glittered and shone with white 
damask and polished cutlery. In the centre 
stood a tall vase of yellow and purple irises, 
and about the room were smaller vases of 
sweet-peas, while on a table under the window 
stood a huge bowl of roses. The room was a 
riot of flowers and glittering tableware and 
cut glass, which the six shaded electric lights 
made to shine and gleam. 

And yet Mr. Pope was aware at first of 
only one thing in the room, and that was the 
splash of bright green over on the farther 
side, which was the hat of the lady sitting 
on the settee. She held a magazine on her 
knees and sat there, motionless, as patient 
to all appearances now as she had been an 
hour and more ago when Saunders had first 
installed her there. 

Mr. Pope, after hesitating the fraction of a 
second within the doorway, stepped forward, 
a phrase of profound, abased apology on his 

It was never spoken. He stopped midway 
across the room and passed a hand swiftly 
across his forehead. , 

" Julie ! " he exclaimed. 

And then : — 

" Julie, my dear ! " 

He rushed forward, his hands outstretched. 
With the slightest possible jerk of her knees 
she shook the magazine off on to the floor 
and took his bands in hers, smiling serenely. 



Dinner at Seven-Thirty 

Then she stood up. She was dressed in a 
plain costume of grey, neatly pressed and 
fitting like a glove, but the least bit thread- 
bare. Her shoes were of grey su&le and 
her stockings of grey silk. But the gloves 
she had left lying on the settee had been 
darned in several places, and the handbag 
that lay beside them was slightly worn at 
the edges. 

Mr. Pope, however, noticed none of these 
things. All he did notice were the little 
lines at the corners of her eyes and behind 
their brightness the tired, almost frightened 
look in the eyes themselves. 

" My dear ! " he said again. 

She gave a little rippling laugh that was 
music to him. 

" Well, you wonderful man," she ex- 
claimed, " how on earth did you discover 
me ? I've only been in England twelve 

She looked at him, and she did not try to 
hide the fact that she was glad to see him, 
nor that, mingled with her pleasure, was a 
certain admiration at what she believed to 
be his astuteness. 

M I— I " Mr. Pope stammered. To 

hide his confusion he turned and waved his 
arm at the table. 

" Let's eat," he said, with a sudden courtly 
masterfulness. " The feast is prepared." 
He found the bell and pressed it. "I'm 
sorry to have kept you so long. Explana- 
tions can follow." 

IT was not until they reached the coffee 
that the explanations were concluded. 
Then, as he held a match to Julie's 
cigarette, Mr. Pope observed : — 

41 Poor beggar ! I wonder if she waited. 
We shall never know, I suppose." He 
was referring to the young man in the 
train. Out of the fullness of his heart he 

Arid Julie sighed, too, very prettily. " I 
can't bear to think of their not being happy 
together after having made us so happy," 
she observed, frojn which it will be gathered 
that the meal had not been entirely devoted 
to the other couple. " But I'm sure she 
waited. A woman always does, I waited 
for twelve years." 

Mr. Pope caught her fingers and lifted 
them to his lips. Then he looked at his 

" Agnes goes to bed at eleven," he said. 
" I think we'd better be moving." 

He had risen and was looking for his bag, 
which he had dropped just inside the door. 
" Have to give 'em a cheque," he explained. 
He found the bag as Saunders arrived with 
his bill. 

Placing the bag on his knees, he inserted 
a key in the lock. But the key would not 

turn, and when he pressed back the catch he 
found that it was not locked. 

" By Jove ! " he remarked, " that was 
pretty careless." He dropped the keys into 
his pocket and opened the bag. 

Julie, who was attending to her hair in the 
glass over the mantelpiece, turned at his 
amazed ejaculation. 

He was taking from the bag a sheaf oi 
newspapers. When they had been removed 
nothing remained. He shut the bag and 
turned it over curiously. Gradually the 
light of understanding spread over his 
features and he sprang to his feet, his 
hands clenched and his face quickly became 

"Well, of all the impudent, dastardly 
swindles 1 " he burst out. " Under my very 
nose ! " Too overcome for coherent ex- 
pression, he pointed to the bag lying open 
and empty on the floor. " Changed it right 
under my own eyes ! " he spluttered. " Of 
all the shameless " 

He caught Julie's eye. There was the 
suggestion of a smile in it, and Mr. Pope 
stopped dead in the middle of his outburst. 
But he could not easily overlook the outrage . 
that had been played on him by the young 
man in the train. 

" Three hundred pounds' worth of unique, 
irreplaceable foreign stamps — as well as my 
cheque-book ! " he growled. " He must 
have followed me from the sale-room. A 
complete put-up job. The police will have 
to know about this." 

Julie's smile spread. 

•' Am I too expensive at three hundred 
pounds ? " she inquired, demurely. 

" Good heavens, my dear child ! " Mr. 
Pope exclaimed. And he, too, began to 
smile — grudgingly at first, and then without 
restraint as the amusing side of the affair 
struck him. He picked up his bill from the 

• You'll have to help me out with this, at 
all events," he observed, with mock solem- 

Julie picked up the rather threadbare bag 
and took out two one-pound notes. 

'• All I have in the world," she remarked, 
as she handed them to him. "So you can 
understand a certain tenderness on my part 
towards your young friend." She shrugged 
her shoulders. " C'est la vie ! " 

" Eh ! " exclaimed Mr. Pope. He was 
looking rather stupidly at the notes. " Oh, 
yes, of course ! " 

He drew from his waistcoat pocket the 
tailor's bill he had picked up in the carriage 
after the young man had gone, and, tearing 
it into small pieces, dropped it into the grate. 

" Of course," he repeated, " as you 
observe, c'est la v?e ! " 

He picked up the bag and carefully closed 


H. W. Leggett 


Well, you wonderful man,* she exclaimed, * how on earth did you discover me?' 

it. " I can stop those cheques all right in for a moment and chuckled. He'll never 
the morning," he said, " but won't old see the joke," he remarked. 
Sitwell be mad ! " He thought about that He never did. 

( ' i^i-iolr Original from 




O ©- 

-O <>. 






(Chief Inspector of the Education Department of the LCC) 

THAT a sense of humour is a priceless 
possession is generally acknow- 
ledged. In all the important crises 
of life, the ability to bring to bear 
on a difficult situation the eternal spirit 
of childhood is a very great solace which is 
denied to those in whom the sense of humour 
is lacking. An investigation of the sense of 
humour in children at different ages, and 
the conditions which are favourable to its 
full play and development, becomes, there- 
tore, a matter of more than ordinary interest. 
For this purpose the writer has analysed 
some thousands of funny stories and jokes, 
which were obtained from children in response 
to the following questions : — 

(i) Give an account of the funniest story 
you have ever read or heard. 

(2) Of all the jokes that you can remember, 
give an account of the one which made 
you laugh the most. 

For children who were too young to give 
written answers, oral methods were adopted 
by careful observers. 


During the inquiry the points to which 
most attention was given in the records of 
funny stories and jokes were those dealing 
with the type of story, the element of 
superiority in which the stupidity of the 
object is emphasized, playing with words, 
boisterous fun (ragging and playing the fool), 
the misfortunes of others, and the nature of 
the element of surprise in the joke. 

The changes noted from age to age can 
only be roughly approximated, as some of 
the elements are constant in their appeal. 
There are, however, certain elements which 
predominate at particular periods of the 
school life and can be clearly distinguished. 


At the ages of five and six children are 
amused by action, noise, and dramatic effects : 
someone falling down, funny dancing, bump- 
ing into each other, grotesque faces and 
figures, things upside down and inside out, 
dressing up when they take part, and funny 
Sounds. Jokes told to young children only 

Digitized by Ci OO^ I C 

appeal through the dramatic instinct and 
depend for their effect on the inflections of 
the voice and the facial expressions or 
actions of the narrator. Verbal or written 
fun, without dramatic action, can only be 
appreciated when children can read fairly 
fluently. One observer read in an ordinary 
voice some of a well-known comedian's most 
obvious stories to the children in an infant 
school without raising a smile. Funny or 
grotesque illustrations drawn in front of the 
children by the teacher, which they are 
afterwards allowed to reproduce, greatly 
delight small children, probably due to the 
actions and discussions produced as the 
picture grows. 

The appreciation of humour by young 
children must not be confused with 
children's smart and witty sayings. These 
are said without any intention of their being 
humorous. It is naiveti pure and simple. 
Sully in his Essay on Laughter records the 
case of a child of three who, having heard 
his mother say that Mr. Fawkes was coming 
to lunch, said, " Will Mrs. Knives come 
too ? " A child of five, who had been placed 
in Class 2B by his teacher, on being asked by 
the head mistress what class he was in, said 
" 2B," and then said quite distinctly to the 
boy next to him, " or not to be " ; but cases 
of puns of children under seven are very rare. 

As examples of naiveti may be quoted : — 

(a) A clever child wrote a play which was 
acted by children. In the first act there was 
a wedding, and at the end of the ceremony 
the husband said, " And now, my dear, I 
must leave you and go abroad and make my 
fortune." In the second act he returned, 
bringing bags of gold and beautiful presents 
for his wife. Recording his adventures, he 
concluded by saying, " I have had to work 
very hard." " Yes, my dear," replied his 
wife, " and I also have not been idle," and 
drawing aside a curtain she presented him 
with four children. 

(b) A father, entering his little son's bed- 
room, overheard this portion of the boy's 
evening prayer : ' If I should die during the 
night, please excuse me coming to heaven 
in my pyjamas." 

The Punch and Judy Show, which is a 
Original from 


Dr. C. W, Kimmins 


very great favourite with children, is uni- 
versal in its appeal* In some form it is to 
be found in all highly civilized communities^ 
When a good performance of this type is 
analysed, it is found to embrace practically 
all the essential elements of mirth-production. 
The University professor and the street 
urchin vie with each other in their apprecia- 
tion of the Punch and Judy Show, provided, 
of course, that a good standard of production 
is reached* 

The irresistible appeal of Charlie Chaplin 
to young children is due to the fact that he is 
breaking all the usual conventions of society 
and is doing, in a very amusing way, the very 
things that children are forbidden to do. 
The continual movement, variety, and change 
of action, so dear to the child mind, increase 
the effect. 


The records of children of this age mark 
the transition from the purely visual type of 
humorous situation to 
an elementary playing 
with words, At this 
stage there is a very 
marked difference be- 
tween the boys and 
girls. The stories of 
the boys mainly con- 
sist of cinema and 
fairy tales, and many 
of the jokes have for 
their basis the misfor- 
tunes of others. On 
the other hand, the 
stories of the girls 
are almost exclusively 
fairy tales, a large 
percentage of which 
are about the story 
of the three bears, 
which retains its ap- 
peal to children far 
longer than might 
have been anticipated. 

In the girls J records there are many riddles 
and much play upon words, but these 
elements are missing from those of the 
boys* Humorous situations, based on the 
misfortunes of others, do not bulk so largely 
in the girls' as in the boys' records* 


At this stage the misfortunes of others 
and r fairy stories, including those about 
talking animals, are very common in the 
records of boys and girls . The boys now 
take an interest in riddles and playing with 
words, but in this respect are far behind the 
girls. The feeling of superiority makes its 
appearance in the accounts of mistakes of 
younger children. The girls here, as at 

Digitized by VjOOglC 

A sense of humour is a priceless possession/ 1 

other ages, associate stupidity with the boys, 
but there is no reciprocal action in the case 
of the boys. The favourite fairy story is 
still the three bears. There is a marked 
increase now in domestic stories. Those of 
boisterous fun are far more common with the 
girls than with the boys. A great falling ofl 
is to be noted in cinema stories. 


Here there is a very great change. The 
intelligent child of this age has, to a large 
extent, overcome the mechanical arts of 
reading and writing, is a voracious reader, 
and is rapidly acquiring a fair background 
of useful knowledge. Boys and girls of this 
period are particularly interested in funny 
stories and jokes. The good fairy story is 
still very popular, especially with girls. The 

domestic story is im- 
proving, and accounts 
of comic incidents 
from well-known 
books are quoted. 
One girl of nine says : 
" The funniest book I 
have ever read is Mr + 
Shakespeare's Comedy 
of Errors/' The feel- 
ing of superiority is 
increasing, and stories 
and jokes of amusing 
mistakes are very 

The story of the 
woman, the deck- 
chair, the oranges, and 
the shark, which has 
a great vogue among 
children, appears at 
this stage, 

There was a storm 
at sea, and in order to 
lighten the ship, the 
sailors threw over- 
board a fat woman, a 
box of oranges, and 
a deck-chair. The storm having abated, 
a large shark was caught and was hauled 
aboard. On cutting it open the woman 
was found sitting in the deck-chair selling 
oranges at three a penny. 

An amusing story, or one considered to be 
amusing by the children, spreads rapidly 
through the school and from school to school. 
Riddles and play upon words still maintain 
their position at this age, but the popularity 
of the misfortunes of others, as a source of 
merriment, is ceasing to interest, and soon 
disappears entirely, 


The children are still very keen p and books 
of jokes and cormc papers are eagerly bought 



The Sense of Humour in Children 

and read. The power of graphic description 
has improved. Funny stories from good 
books are increasing in number, ll Alice in 
Wonderland/' " Helen's Babies," " Three 
Men in a Boat/' and " Tom Sawyer " are 
often quoted. At this age much attention 
is given to the affairs of the class-room as 
affording suitable material for the gratifica- 
tion of the sense of humour. The inspector 
is the subject of much ridicule ; e.g. ; — 

(a) An inspector was writing out his 
report on the school in an empty class- 
room* Being disturbed by a great noise 
in an adjoining room, he rushed in, seized 
the person who was talking more than 
the others, took him into his room, refused 
to hear any explanation, ordered him 
to sit quietly on a chair, and went on with 
his report. Shortly afterwards a knock 
was heard and a small boy entered the room. 
" What do you want ? " said the inspector. 
" Please, sir, you've got our 
teacher/ 1 said the boy. 

(6) An inspector was testing 
the arithmetic in a class, and 
inverted the numbers given by 

" The Punch and Judy Show is universal 

in its appeal/' 

writing them on the black board ; e.g., if the 
children said >6, he would write 62 ; if they 
said 87, he would write 78, and so on. At 
last a rude boy said, " 33 — now muck about 
with that." 

The teacher who explains the meaning of 

t .oogTr 

a word, and asks the children to construct 
sentences containing the word, gives much 
scope ior laughter; e.g. : — 

(a) A teacher, in reply to questions, ex- 
plained that " trickling *' was another word 
for running, and that the word " anecdote " 
meant a short tale. He then asked the 
children to construct a sentence containing 
these words. One of the answers was, " A 
dog was trickling down the street, with a 
tin-can tied to his anecdote." 

(b) The children were told to make up a 
sentence containing the word "notwithstand- 
ing/' to which a boy replied, "My brother 
has shiny trousers, but notwithstanding." 

The appropriate attitude of the children 
to the teacher is also a subject of merriment ; 
eg. :— 

{a} A teacher explained that the word 
" heirloom M meant something which de- 
scended from father to son p whereupon a boy 
said, " Well j teacher, that's the funniest 
word I've ever heard for a pair of trousers/' 

(6} The subject of the Flood was under 
discussion, and the children were asking 
what the people in the Ark were doing all the 
time the water was going down, The teacher 
ventured the suggestion that much of their 
time was spent in fishing, but a boy refused 
to accept this theory on the ground that there 
were onty two worms in the Ark. 

Such incidents satisfy the requirement of 
the feeling of superiority, which is still a very 
important factor, At this age the fairy 
story still retains its hold and boisterous fun 
is kept within its proper limits. Riddles 
are on the decrease, but the play upon words 
is increasing and improving in quality. 


The stories and jokes of the boys and girls 
of nine and ten years of age give evidence of 
a considerable advance in the appreciation 
of amusing incidents. Naturally the mate- 
rial is of a primitive type, but it was impro- 
ving rapidly and appeared to give promise 
of important developments, especially in the 
play upon words and in the selection of funny 
stories from good literature. At the ages 
under consideration, however, there is a 
very marked deterioration, especially at 
twelve years of age, when the sense of 
humour seems to have disappeared entirely. 
This period appears to mark quite clearly 
the parting of the ways* Great physical 
changes are taking place ; rapid growth is 
in progress and reaches its maximum in- 
crease at twelve years of age, when, accord- 
ing to the most trustworthy figures, the hoy 
increases in height by seven and the girl by 
nine centimetres, after which the curve of 
growth tends to flatten. Associated with 
these physical changes there is a tendency 
for the children to break away to a certain 


Dr. C. W. Kimmins 


extent from established authority and to 
think out things for themselves, and the 
appreciation of good literature is weakened. 
The funny story is now of a more persona! 
nature ; it is a story they have heard rather 
than one they have read. Their own ex- 
periences bulk largely. The element of 
superiority runs riot and they delight in 
extravagant stories of stupidity concerned 
with adults rather than children. American 
exaggeration and Irish stories are very 
popular, and the sayings of parrots are the 
sole survivors of the earlier animal 
stories. As examples of exaggera- 
tion stories the following may be 
mentioned ;— 

(a) An American passing the Law 
Courts in a bus asked the conductor 
how long it took to put up M that 
block of buildings," The conductor 
replied, " Oh, about seven years/' 
" In our country/' said the Ameri- 
can, '* that would have taken about 
seven weeks/' Later on the bus 
was passing Westminster Abbey, and 
the American inquired what was the 
name of the building. The con- 
ductor replied that he didn't know, 
as it wasn't there when he passed 
in the morning. 

ib) A man was shaving when a sudden 
knock was heard at the door ; this startled 
him, and he had the misfortune to cut off 
his nose. In his excitement he dropped his 
razor, which cut off one of his toes, A 
doctor was called in and bound up the 
wounds. After some days the bandages 
were removed, when it was found that the 
nose had been fixed on to the foot and the 
toe on to the face. The man made a com- 
plete recovery, but it was very awkward, 
because every time he wanted to blow his 
nose he had to take his boot off. 

Of the Irish stories, the Maryhill incident 
is the most popular : — 

An Irishman who had never been on a 
railway journey before was told to take his 
ticket at the booking office in the same way 
as the other passengers. In front of him a 
lady going to Maryhill said to the booking 
clerk, "Maryhill, single " ; and the Irishman 
followed with " Pat Murphy, married/' 

This is the age when many stories are 
related of the idiosyncrasies of the English, 
Scotch, and Welsh, a very popular one being 
the nature of the presents taken home by 
representatives of England, Scotland, and 

The Englishman brought home " A tea- 
cosy from Cork/" the Welshman "' A tea-pot 
from Dublin," and the Scotsman ir a cup and 
saucer bearing the inscription ' The Great 
Western Railway Company/ " 

The boys J football stories are singularly 

bad, and betray an inadequate sense of 
humour. The boisterous fun element comes 
into a larger proportion of stories than at 
any other period, and consists mainly of 
ragging stories and somewhat crude practical 

Among those 
of the girls of 
eleven years of 
age the falling- 
off is more 
clearly marked 

lease, sir, you ve got our 

than in those of the boys, which in many 
cases show a slight improvement on the 
ten- year-old stories, The story of the woman 
who slipped on the polished plate of the 
Victory marking the place where Nelson fell, 
and who told the guide that she w + as not 
surprised that Nelson fell on this spot for 
she nearly fell there herself, is often quoted. 
Far and away the lowest point in the 
material which affords amusement is reached 
with boys and girls at the age of twelve. 
Towards the close of the thirteen-year-old 
stage there is, in the case of girls, a 
recovery ; but there is no indication of this 
in that of the boys + With them it is not 
reached until the age of fourteen and, in 
some cases, fifteen years. 

B u ring the eleven-to-thirteen period the 
riddle practically disappears and is not 
revived at later ages. 

The great change during this period is the 
diversion from fun found in childish incidents, 
in the fairy story, in books of some literary 
merit, and in the affairs of the class-room, 
which are so common during the ages of nine 
and ten t to adult material of an inferior kind, 
much of which is imperfectly understood. 
When the revival comes there is a far greater 
resemblance to the material of the ten-year- 
old child than to that of children in the 
serious gap from eleven to thirteen, and there 
is far less of the boisterous element; Irish 
stories of stupidity, and those dealing with 
American exaggeration. 



The Sense of Humour in Children 



During this period a very great improve- 
ment takes place. In the selection of funny 
stories, a much larger percentage comes 
from the work of well-known writers. The 
stories of W. W. Jacobs and Ian Hay 
{" Happy- Go- Lucky " especially) are very 
popular. Of individual stories, " Three lien 
ill a Boat," " Daddy-Long-Legs, n " Mrs. 
Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch," (J The Young 
Visiters/ 1 " Huckleberry Finn/' " Tom Saw- 
yer," "Helen's Babies/' and "Alice in 
Wonderland " are much quoted. The culture 
if a good home has a great influence on the 
choice and variety of stories ; whereas the 
very poor child relies on the school and the 
comic papers for his material. Stories for 
which originality is claimed by the narrator 
are mainly naiveti stories of young children. 
Their personal contributions, however, in- 
crease in value, and some of them give 
considerable promise of future witticisms. 
The children quote less and less of the old 

At seventeen 
and eighteen 
years of age there 
appears to be a 
still further im- 
provement, and 
some of the stories 
and jokes are 
remarkably good. 
The boisterous fun 
element is gradu- 
ally disappearing, 
and is of a very 
different character 
from that of the 
ele ven - 1 o - 1 h i rt een 



The home- 
stories are princi- . * 
pally of three Opportunity should be 
types : — 

I. Those in which the father is the object 
of ridicule, such, for example, as : — 

{a) A child had a favourite dog called 
Paddy. One night an accident happened, 
and Paddy was killed, The mother broke 
the news to the child the following morn- 
ing, and was surprised to find that so little 
notice was taken of it. Later on the 
mother heard screams coming from the 
nursery, and the child cried out, M Oh, 

mother, Paddy's dead.'* " But I told you 
so at breakfast time," said the mother, 
" I didn't understand you, mother/' replied 
the child. " I thought you said Daddy." 

(6) A child was admiring her mother s new 
silk dress : her mother, interested in natural 
history, explained to her that all the beautiful 
silk came from a little worm, " Was that 
Daddy, mum ? " asked the child. 

z. Those in which the child deals with 
visitors who have to be informed that the 
mother is out, whereas she is in p and by 
stupidity the child reveals the fact ; and 

3. The sayings of young children, some of 
which are said to be original ; for example, 
a child had noticed that her father, in pre- 
senting his books to his friends, always wrote 
in them, " With the Author's Compliments/' 
On receiving a birthday present of a Bible 
from her little girl, her mother found on the 
first page the inscription, " With the Author's 



There can be no question of the great 
physiological value of laughter. It causes 
deep inspirations, which result in improving 
the aeration of the blood , quickens the cir- 
culation, and increases the joy of life. The 
sense of humour requires a joyous 
atmosphere for its operation. It 
would be a great mistake to tell 
funny stories to a person suffering 
from sea -sickness. 
There would be no 
suitable response 
and the stories 
would be wasted. 
After a period of 
restraint the con- 
ditions for laugh- 
ter are highly 
favourable. At 
Church parade 
laughter is readily 
produced because 
it follows a period 
of restraint 
would have been 

given for practical jokes/' 

during which laughter 

In young children laughter within limits 
should be encouraged, and opportunity 
should be given for the full exercise of the 
spirit of play and practical jokes. Later on 
visual humour will be followed by play upon 
words, and with intelligent children this may 
be succeeded by playing with thoughts in the 
form of witticisms. 

u The Vindication of Louis Je Rougemont : New Light on a Twenty-year-oH Mystery/ 









HE boat train was 
drawing into Victoria, 
and Kressler, seated in the corner 
of a smoking carriage and strapping 
a bag, was finishing a conversation about 

The party of the second part in this con- 
versation, a stout little man looking bored 
and stiff, was exchanging a travelling cap 
for a bowler, trying to arrange his thoughts 
in a fitting manner to meet London after a 
fifteen years' absence in India, aad, at the 
same time, not to appear rude* 

" Of course/' said Kressler, " all those 
variations taking the forms of insects and 
beetles and so on are due simply to modifica- 
tions of the pieces of the floral envelopes. 
The envelopes are constructed irregularly 
upon a ternary type and have three exterior 
and three interior pieces. The exterior 
pieces are less brightly coloured than the 
interior, and the two lateral ones are often of 
a somewhat different form from the other. 
If I had a pencil and hit of paper I could 
explain better." 

"It don't matter/' said the little man, 
hurriedly, " I take your meaning. Well, 
here we are at last," He let the window 
down on the platform side and, as the train 
came to a standstill, hailed a porter* 

Kressler did the same. 

" Not that," said Kressler. " I'll take 
that myself." He referred to a parcel in 
the rack overhead, a brown canvassed parcel 
that bore the stamp of the East as well as 
the initials " J, K." 


Copyrightj 1 521; by H. de Vei 

When his luggage had been 
arranged on and about two 
taxis, Kressler got into the 
first, disposed the J. K. parcel on one of the 
front seats, tipped the porter half a crown, 
and said : " 2&a ( Pont Street/' 

Kressler was forty-seven years of age ; a 
lean, tanned, nervous individual with a heavy 
moustache and the eyes of a fanatic ; he 
had one idea with a double string, and one 
hobby — the Orchidacese and the Coleoptcra. 

His glass-houses at Kniveton, down in 
Bucks, covered acres, his town house at 
26a ± Pont Street, had almost the atmosphere 
of a glass-house, due to the heating of a 
great conservatory at its back, a conservatory 
where choice specimens of the terrestrial 
ophrydere of Pleurothallis, Cattleya, Vanilleae, 
Maxillaria Cypripedium, and other marvels 
held court and received old pre-war German 
professors from Tubingen, orchid fanatics 
from America, men from Kew< His collec- 
tion of beetles was unique. Men laughed at 
Kressler for diverting part of his great 
wealth into the collection and cultivation of 
these forms ; had he taken up with race- 
horses, or broken himself over theatres, they 
would have reckoned him sane enough, but 
for a man to devote his life to beetles and 
orchids I Maybe they were right, seeing that 
KressleT devoted to these things an ambition 
that might have made him Prime Minister, 
had it been properly coupled with his will- 
power and wealth — seeing also that he was 
married to a charming little fluffy-headed 
woman whom he left now and then for 
months and months, whilst he was off on 



Did Kressler Kill His Wife ? 

one of his mad slants in pursuit of his heart's 
desire. He was just back now from the 
Solomon Islands, by way of India, after an 
absence of nine months. 

The cabs stopped at No. 26A, Pont Street. 
Kressler ran up the steps, rang, and was 
admitted by Burden. Burden, though of 
the breed of the old English side-whiskered 
butler, had still something floral about him, 
caught, maybe, from his environment. In 
form he suggested a bulb; his colour was 
even more florid than the interior pieces 
of Maxillaria Cypripedium. 

" Got my wire ? " asked Kressler. 

" Yes, sir," replied Burden, taking his 
master's hat and making to take the parcel 
he carried. 

" Don't bother," said Kressler. " Where's 
your mistress ? " 

'* The mistress said she'd be back before 
you came, sir. She went to the New Bur- 
lington Art Club reception." 

" Tea-party thing ? " asked Kressler. 

" Yes, sir, I believe so." 

Kressler looked at his watch : it pointed 
to ten minutes past five. 

" Well," he said, " you can tell her I'm in 
the library when she comes. See to my 
luggage, and have those cases of specimens 
put somewhere dry." 

He crossed the hall, and Burden, slipping 
before him, opened the door of the library. 

It was a pleasant room with a window 
giving upon the conservatory. On the centre 
table lay a pile of letters. Letters, circulars, 
seed catalogues, bulb catalogues, a monstrous 
pile that had already been dealt with by his 

Kressler pointed to the letters. 

" Shove those on the side table," said he. 

Then, placing the parcel he carried on the 
table before him, he sat down and drew a 
penknife from his pocket whilst Burden 
closed the door. 

Kressler opened the penknife and began 
carefully to rip the sewing of the canvas 
cover. This done, and the cover removed, 
he came upon a layer of dried moss, bound 
around with thin strips of bamboo. Some- 
thing of the sun and mystery of the tropics 
seemed to emanate from the vaguely-scented 
bundle which Kressler now began to work 
upon with his knife, dividing the bamboo 
strips and tearing the moss apart till he 
reached the core — a huge bronze-coloured 
beetle, the wing edges bright as gold, brilliant 
as when "alive, owing to the preservative 
properties of the barea moss. 

Gathering the moss together, he threw 
the canvas cover into the fireplace. Then, 
turning to the table, he sat down before the 

There were plenty of beetles in the packing- 
cases that Burden was unshipping from the 

taxis, but there was no beetle like this for 
beauty and strangeness, either in th * packing- 
cases or the whole known world. 

He repacked the thing carefully in the 
moss, placed it on top of a bureau by the 
window, and, taking his seat on a chair to 
rest, he fell into a momentary reverie. He 
saw again the sunlight of the South, smelt 
again the perfume of the forests, the heady, 
dank, dreamy smell of liantasse in swinging 
cables, cassi in golden flower, vanilla beans, 
and earth that, like a red magician, lurked 
behind the gorgeous arras, building trees, 
twisting vine cables, painting flowers, globing 
fruit, creating insects of the strangest pattern. 

The door opened, and to the dreamer thus 
engaged little Mrs. Kressler came in. 

She wore a broad-brimmed hat and she 
held the programme of the New Burlington 
Art Club in her hand. 



r ARY ! " cried Kressler, rising to meet 
and kiss her. 

I knew I'd be late," said she. 
14 I left in time, but the taxi broke down and 
I had a dispute and — oh, John, how brown 
you are ! Let me look at you in the light — 
brown as a coffee-berry, and so tired-looking. 
Have you had tea ? " 

" No." 

" Then come along — I've tons to tell you." 
She had. Over the tea-cups in the dining- 
room — she had ordered an egg to be boiled 
for his tea — she told him the kitchen chimney 
at Kniveton had taken it into its head to 
smoke ; how the Lacys were going to be 
divorced, how Uncle George's rheumatism 
was, and how much she had paid a new 
modiste for the gown she was wearing — one- 
fifth of what Paquin would charge. 

John listened, wiping the tea from his long 
moustache, and interested, despite himself 
and the fact that she was not talking about 
orchids or the Coleoptera. 

Nine months in the wilder places of the 
earth give one an appetite for things homely 
and simple, and the doings of the great, even 
of the greatest, would have had but little 
appeal for Kressler, who found such interest 
in the doings of the sweep at Kniveton and 
the misdoings of the Lacys. 

After tea they went to the drawing-room, 
where she played for him whilst he smoked 
a cigarette, then they had dinner, and after 
dinner they 'phoned for the electric brougham 
and went to the Gaiety. >' 

Going to bed, Kressler peeped into the 
library to see that the beetle was all right ; 
he did not lock it away, it wanted plenty of 
air after its journey, dry, warm air, such as 
that of the library. He fetched a newspaper 
and folded it into a sort of mattress so that 
air might get to the under side of his treasure \ 


H. de Vere Stacpoole 


then, having smoked a last cigarette, he 
went to bed. 

The most extraordinary thing about the 
Kresslers, or perhaps the most ordinary 
thing, was the fact that Mrs. Kressler existed 
in a different world from her husband. They 
lived together, laughed, walked, talked, and 
ate together, but they didn't think together. 
This little woman, who had something of the 
comfortable appearance of a dormouse, had 
scarcely an idea of the ambitus or object of 
Kressler's activities ; he went sometimes to 
foreign places to collect " specimens," his 
orchid houses were the finest in England, he 
was very proud of them — this she knew, nor 
searched for further knowledge, content with 
the fact that he was a good, if sometimes 
absent, husband, never bothering about her 
commonplace doings, and allowing her seven 
hundred a year for pin-money. 

So it came about that next morning at 
nine o'clock, and just after her husband had 
left the house for Kew on important business, 
Mrs. Kressler, floating into the library, and 
seeing some dirty-looking moss lying on an 
old newspaper on the bureau, and some 
canvas in the grate, called the housemaid, who 
was dusting the hall, and told her to remove 


KRESSLER came home for luncheon at 
one o'clock, bringing Professor Skeines 
with him. 

Mrs. Kressler was out, attending a sale at 
Deny and Toms, so they had the table and 
the conversation to themselves, with a 
bottle of old Madeira. 

Skeines's conversation was about as inter- 
esting as the contents of a bulb catalogue 
to the uninitiated, but Kressler seemed to 
enjoy it, even though it was not all about 

He listened with seeming interest whilst 
Skeines pulled Professor Pullman's mono- 
graph on the Hexandria to pieces, pointing 
out with devilish derision his inclusion 
amongst the Liliacea of a rush that had no 
place there — with seeming interest, for sud- 
denly in a pause of the talk he prised Skeines 
from his subject as one prises a limpet from 
a rock and fastened him on to the Coleoptera. 

44 And now I'll show you something worth 
seeing," said Kressler, rising from the table. 
He left the room, leaving the door ajar, and 
old Skeines, pouring out another glass of 
Madeira, heard him cross the hall to the 
library. Then he heard the voice of Kressler 
crying aloud for Mary, whoever Mary might 
be, and the voice of a female making answer: — 

44 The missus told me to throw it out, sir." 

Skeines pricked his ears ; a long silence 
followed the simple announcement. Then 
came Kressler's voice : — 

" Told you to throw it out ! " 


44 Yes, sir ; that and some old stuff that 
was in the grate." 

44 Told — you — to — throw — it out 1 Where 
to ?— What !— Which ! Where the— where 
did you throw it ? " 

" All the rubbish goes into the dustbin, 
sir ! " 

44 AD the rubbish — but this was not rub- 
bish ! Can't you understand — the only 
golden stag in the world — Great Scot ! 
Where's the dustbin ? " 

" In the area, sir, but it will have been 
emptied by this." 

" Emptied, where ? " 

44 Into the dust-cart, sir." 

41 What dust-cart ? " 

44 The one that comes every day, sir." 

44 Where does it come from ? " 

" I don't know, sir." 

*' Great Scot ! Great Scot ! — where 's 
Burden ? " 

44 The missus sent him to Harrods, sir, to 
match some Japanese lamp shades." 

44 Lamps, lamp shades ! — Great Scot ! 
Does the cook know ? Run down and ask 
her, quick; tell her what's happened — quick." 

Old Skeines, vastly interested, and withal 
amused as one at a tragic play where the 
acting is perfect, poured himself out another 
glass of Madeira and sat listening to the 
uneasy footsteps in the hall. 

Skeines was unmarried, and his always 
fair estimate of his own wisdom was not 
diminished either in volume or intensity by 
the domestic tragedy unfolding to his ears. 

He thought of the Liiium Skeinesensi 
which a foolish wife might have boiled, 
mistaking it for an onion. Of his essay 
44 On the relation of the stamen to the calyx 
as determining the poisonous nature of certain 
plants," of which matrimony might have 
made jam-pot lids. 

Then suddenly came the voice of Mary. 

*' Please, sir, the cook says the dustman 
called at twelve as usual and she doesn't 
know where he comes from, but it's the 
London County Council does the work, she 
believes, and " 

44 Where's my hat ? " 

14 Here, sir." 

Skeines heard the hall door opened, a pass- 
ing taxi being hailed, Kressler's voice crying 
44 Spring Gardens," and the hall door shut. 

He was not annoyed at being forgotten in 
this manner by his host — he knew him too 
well. He finished the Madeira, smoked a 
cigarette, and then he, too, departed. 


IT was not till four o'clock on the following 
day that Kressler returned home for 
good. After definite knowledge of the 
fruitlessness of his quest had come the 
recognitiotfricpil'iadefeat and a feeling of 



Did Kressler Kill His Wife ? 

All the rubbish goes into the dustbin, sir/ * All the rubbish but this was not 
rubbish! Can't you understand -©mjinal from 

*£"'' ! 


H. de Vere Stacpoole 


abandonment. He had dined at his club,, 
reviewing — as he ate the food he could not 
taste — the men he had interviewed, high 
officials and dustmen, the things he had seen, 
from dust carts to dust destructors, and the 
great fact that his quest. was hopeless. He 
drifted into the A 1 ham bra, and returned 
home at one o'clock in the morning. He 
listened to the easy breathing, speaking of 
the sleep of the just, that came from his 
wife's bedroom, then he stole off to his own 
room, and after early breakfast next morning, 
started for Richmond, where Skeines lived. 

He did not want to meet his wife. He 
dreaded what he might say. He recognized 
that it was not all her fault, not her fault 
that she had been born with a mind destitute 
of interest in the things that really mattered, 
a commonplace frivolous mind — yet he did 
not want to meet her. He did not want to 
think of her. If she had destroyed the thing 
in a temper he might have forgiven her more 
easily than he could forgive her for this 
passionless, stupid crime, born of want of 
interest in his aspirations and doings. 

Luncheon with Skeines and a blow in the 
Park, however, had a cooling effect, and by 
the time of his return home, about four 
o'clock, he was not only able to think calmly 
about his wife, but he was actually anxious 
to meet her. To meet her and punish her, 
by telling her exactly what she had xjone and 
in language that a child could understand. 

•• The mistress is in the drawing-room, sir," 
said Burden. 

She was. Placid and content. Tea had 
just been brought in, and as Kressler entered 
she was in the act of pouring out a cup. 
Calm, and evidently without any sense of 
special wrong-doing. 

•• John," said Mrs. Kressler, as though 
suddenly remembering, " I'm so sorry. 
Mary tells me that old thing you left in the 
library and that old canvas in the grate 
oughtn't to have been thrown out — I told 
her to " 

** I know," said Kressler. " It was a 
beetle — there's no use in bothering about it 
— two lumps, please." 

He took his cup and sat down, and Mrs. 
Kressler, nothing loth, turned the conversa- 
tion in another direction. She knew nothing 
of the wild incidents of yesterday ; Mary had 
simply said that the master had seemed put 
out. He still seemed put out, so she started 
to draw him away from himself with light 
gossip and with such apparent success that 
she was surprised when, tea being over, 
Kressler, returning to the subject like the 
Biblical dog, said :— 

" I want to talk to you, Mary, about that 
thing ; sit down here beside me on the sofa. 
I want to tell you the story of it so that you 
may see what it meant to me." 


. " Yes, dear," said Mrs. Kressler. Fetching 
the. half- knitted jumper she was at work on, 
she sat down beside him on the broad com- 
fortable sofa, and he began. 

" V/OU remember, or maybe you don't 

j[ remember,, that before starting I 
had engaged a collector to meet me 
at Rangoon." 

•• I remember something about that," 
said Mrs. Kressler, " because you got so 
angry with me when I asked you what he 
was going to collect." 

" If I got angry," said Kressler, ■• it was 
simply because the fact was obvious that the 
expedition being in search of new specimens 
of certain endogenous plants grouped under 
the name Orchidaceae and certain new forms 
of life, we were going to collect those, if 
possible. Well, I met this man at Rangoon. 
Simmonds was his name. I had engaged 
him on good credentials ; an hour's conversa- 
tion with him confirmed them. Here was no 
hired collector — would you mind putting 
those knitting needles aside, dear, their 
movements rather interrupt me ? — here was 
no man paid for doing a job ; here was a man 
with a passionate attachment to his subject, 
a man whose life had been spent in the wilder 
places of the world in pursuit of science. He 
was a remarkable man, even in personal 
appearance, not unlike Burden in figure and 
face, if one can imagine Burden with an 
intellect and some inches shorter in stature ; 
but the thing that struck me most was his 
head. It was very large, quite enormous, 
making him a subject of ridicule, indeed, to 
boys and dull-witted persons. 

" He had already obtained for me an option 
upon a schooner of sixty tons, the Madras, 
owned by a Dutch gentleman of the name of 
Papenhayne, resident in Rangoon ; having 
inspected her I signed the contract for a 
year's hire. A week later we had obtained 
our crew, and the provisions and water having 
been brought on board, we started, shaping 
our course for Borneo. 

" One might ask me, ' Why pass the 
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, those well- 
known haunts of the orchid ? ' and I would 
reply Over-done.' Robbed by innumerable 
collectors of the rarer specimens, these islands, 
small in area, are over-done. Simmonds 
well -knew that, and, led by his sagacity, we 
discarded the obvious, steering, as I said, 
for Borneo. 

" Reaching Sarawak we put in to Igan, 
which is situated on a bend of the Rejang 
river. Between here and Muka we made 
our hunting-ground, and here, led by Sim- 
monds, I secured a rich harvest. Half the 
contents of those packing-cases. Think of 
it, in that small tract of country disdained by 



Did Kressler Kill His Wife ? 

collectors I secured all those, simply because 
I was led by a man of knowledge and genius." 

" It's something like shopping, isn't it ? " 
said Mrs. Kressler. " Sometimes in side 
streets you find shops that are much better 
and cheaper than the big shops — if you know 
the ropes." 

" Just so," said Kressler, pleased at this 
sudden flash of intelligence in his spouse. 
"Simmonds knew the ropes, as you put it, 
and, having exhausted this piece of country, 
we re-embarked and set sail for Sandal Wood 
Island in the Sunda group. It is quite a 
small island, but very rich in its flora and 
fauna and strangely neglected by collectors, 
and having secured a fairly good haul, we 
left for Mallicollo, in the New Hebrides, 
stopping there only for water and leaving 
the next day for a small island to the south 
which Simmonds had marked down, and 
where our luck still held good. We spent a 
fortnight there, and on the eve of our de- 
parture for Suva Simmonds made a proposi- 
tion to me. 

" It seems that somewhere about a year 
before a Dutchman named Van Home had 
given him information of the possibilities of 
Malaita in the Solomon Islands. Van Home 
was a collector, and he had marked down 
a special bay to the west of Malaita where 
the woods were extraordinarily rich. The 
only difficulty was the natives. The natives 
of Malaita are head-hunters to a man ; 
crafty, subtle, and sly, they are the most 
dangerous people in the Eastern world. 
Civilization has never really touched them. 
They are cannibals, but they kill really less 
for food than for the strange passion that has 
come down to them from immemorial times, 
the passion for securing and collecting heads. 
Head lust, one might call it. 

" Well, Simmonds proposed to me that 
we should sail for Malaita and, risking the 
natives, explore the woods spoken of by Van 
Home. Such was his devotion to me, that, 
though he was only my paid agent who 
could have chosen safe places, he put every 
personal consideration aside — you quite ap- 
preciate that fact, don't you ? " 

M Yes — go on," said Mrs. Kressler, nestling 
close to him as if for protection against the 
head-hunters. 4t I quite see, they'd want to 
get his head, wouldn't they ? — you said it 
was so big." . * 

"I wasn't thinking of that— I meant risk 
of life. He was ready to risk his life for my 
sake and for the sake of the objects of our 
search. You see that clearly ? " 

-- Yes, quite." 

" V Y/ELL, I accepted his suggestion, after 

Y^f due consideration, and next day we 

set sail for Malaita, favoured by fine 

weather, and in due course we arrived at the 

I bay indicated by Van Home. It was a narrow 
bay protected by a reef and backed by dense 
groves of coco-nuts, pandanus, bread-fruit, and 
other tropical trees, but sign of natives there 
was none. Everything seemed in our favour, 
and then, all of a sudden, bad luck came, for 
on the morning after our arrival I was 
troubled by an attack of fever. I must have 
taken it at Mallicollo. However that may 
be, it quite prostrated me, and, despite large 
doses of quinine, I was helpless and unable 
to land. Then it was that Simmonds showed 
himself again in his true colours. He de- 
termined to go ashore alone, taking with him 
two Kanakas we had picked up at Mallicollo. 
I pointed out to him the risk attending ,the 
landing of such a small party, but he was 
quite determined, and I was too weak to 
argue with him. So he went, taking pro- 
visions sufficient for three or four days, an 
automatic pistol, and the tin collecting box 
which he always carried slung across his 
shoulder by a strap. 

" On the evening of the next day one of the 
Kanakas returned, hailing the ship from the 
beach. A boat put off for him, and he came 
on board bearing a note from Simmonds. 
The note briefly stated that he had discovered 
what he called* the wonder of the world, the 
golden stag lie called it — a beetle absolutely 
unknown to science. He gave a short de- 
scription, and finished by saying that he was 
pushing farther into the woods and would 
return on the following day. You can fancy 
my feelings. The fever quite left me. I was 
myself again. My appetite came back, and 
that night I slept soundly, though dreaming, 
indeed, the most splendid dream, in which I 
walked with my friend amongst groves where 
the flora was of almost impossible beauty. 
Next day I could scarcely rest watching the 
beach for his return, but evening came and 
passed and night fell without a sign of him. 
Next morning was the same. No sign ; the 
day passed and night was falling when a hail 
from the beach reached us, but it was not 

" It was Ramua, the second Kanaka, 
returned without his master. When we got 
him on board he was too exhausted to speak, 
then, after a while, when we had given him 
some food and brandy, he recovered enough 
to be able to tell his tale. 

' 'He said that shortly after leaving us they 
had struck a part of the forest where ' Master 
with the big head/ that was the name he 
employed, speaking in the native, had ex- 
pressed great joy over an insect which he had 
collected, and placed it in his tin box. He 
had. sent the other Kanaka back with a note 
to me, and then he and Ramua had pushed 
on, seeking more things but finding little of 
importance, though, indeed, the forest was 
filled with plants and insects not inferior in 


H. de Vere Stacpoole 


" * Yea— go on/ said Mrs. Kreftsler, nestling dose to him as if for protection. 


6 4 

Did Kressler Kill His Wife ? 

looks to the one which had given his master 
such delight. 

• • Of course, I knew at once the truth, that 
Simmonds, as so often happens after a big 
find, had struck the commonplace again, and, 
spurred by his first success, had pushed 
on farther and farther. Ramua's narrative 
bore me out. Simmonds had indeed pushed 
on, making towards the north so as to avoid 
the hills, and that night, as they slept, he 
and Ramua had been seized by natives, 
bound,and carried captive to a village situated 
in a clearing and close to the shore. 

" Ramua on the way had managed to 
loosen his bonds, and, struggling free of 
them, had broken away and escaped. He 
could not tell what the natives had done to 
Simmonds, whether they had killed him or 
whether he still lived. He had made his way 
back to the ship by that beast instinct 
common to primitive man, and he declared, 
on being questioned, that he could find the 
village again if I cared to lead a relief expe- 
dition and take him as guide, 

" /~\F course, I determined on that course 

\^J of action at once. There were seven 
of us. Myself, Masters, the captain of 
the schooner, three sailors, one of whom 
acted as bo'sun, and the two Kanakas. 
We had four repeating rifles and four 
revolvers on board, and plenty of ammuni- 
tion; these we collected, with enough pro- 
visions to last us four days, and, having 
given Ramua six hours in which to rest 
himself and sleep, we started just as day 
was breaking beyond the hills. 

" We landed without opposition or diffi- 
culty, and, leaving a man behind to take the 
boat back to the schooner and keep watch, 
we struck inland, led by Ramua, through a 
forest where the cable lianas swung overhead, 
and the tree tops, moving in the land breeze 
that had just sprung up, showed the sky lit 
with morning. 

•' As the light grew stronger I could see 
what a paradise for the collector this was 
likely to be, but, filled as my mind was with 
the fate of Simmonds, I was blind to the 
possibilities around me. I had but one idea, 
to push on. 

" At noon we halted for a rest and some 
food, and two hours later we resumed the 
march, Ramua still leading with the unerring 
instinct of a dog; till we reached a part of 
the forest where only bread-fruit grew, 
interspersed with great patches of the 
Mammee apple. 

" Here Ramua called a halt and whispered 
that we were within earshot of the village. 

" It was just sundown and darkness was 
coming through the trees. He said that our 
plan was to wait a few hours till the moon 
rose, then, the village being asleep, we could 

prospect the place, free Simmonds if he were 
still alive, perhaps without giving the alarm, 
or, if necessary, attack the place with better 
chance of success in the moonlight than we 
would have now that dusk was full upon 
us. He said that if they intended killing 
Simmonds they would have done so by this. 
We fell in with his plan and, lying down, 
rested ourselves whilst darkness came on 
and the forest turned black with night. 

'• Presently a faint green light began to 
glow above us. It was the light of the rising 
moon. It grew stronger and, as it grew, the 
whisper came from Ramua that it was time 
for us to move. I ordered the men to look 
to their arms, see that their spare ammuni- 
tion was all right, and walk softly; then, 
following Ramua in single file, we moved off. 

11 It was easy going, and the ground, 
covered by a growth of low fern between 
the Mammee apples and the bread-fruit 
tracts, gave no sound to our footsteps. Ten 
minutes passed, then, Ramua halting, we 
spread out and, peeping through the bushes, 
saw the native village in its clearing, the 
moon full upon the grass-thatched huts and, 
full in the moonlight in the open space around 
which the huts were grouped, a little fire 
burning and sending its smoke to the sky. 

'• Three sticks in the form of a tripod were 
placed over the fire and from them some- 
thing hung on a string, twirling in the smoke. 
Beside the fire squatted an old man feeding 
the flickering flames with dried leaves and 
. bits of tinder, the smoke rising in volumes at 
every handful so that sometimes the thing 
that was being smoked was invisible. Not 
another soul was in sight ; the village slept 
well and soundly, and the reason of its sleep 
was evident in the embers of a greater fire 
just dying out and the bones around it. The 
village was gorged. 

• 4 Ramua, who was beside me, plucked my 
sleeve, pointed out the old man by the fire 
and whispered : * Devil-devil doctor.' Then 
he held up a finger and whispered : ' Wait ! ' 

'• He rose, slipped away through the trees, 
and presently returned with something in 
his hands. It was a fathom of tough ground 
liana as thick as whipcord. Then, holding 
up his finger again, he glided away. 
Presently he reappeared in the full moon- 
light, crossing the open space like a ghost, 
towards the old man, approaching him from 

•' The devil-doctor heard and saw nothing. 
Then suddenly the liana was round his neck, 
twisted tight, and he was lying on the ground 
kicking, and, in «a moment, dead. Not a cry 
had broken the stillness of the night to alarm 
the village, nothing but just the faint sound 
of the old man's brief struggle that might 
have been the sound of a bush pig in the 
undergrowthOriginal f 


Henry E. Dudeney 


11 Then Ramua removed the thing that 
was hanging from the tripod and picked up 
something that lay beside the body of the 
devil- doc tor, something that shone in the 
moonlight. It was Simmondss collect* 
ing box — the other thing, which he had 
removed from the tripod, was Simmond&'s 

*" Coming back to us bearing these things, 
one in each hand, he whispered us to follow 
him, and striking through the trees we left 
the sleeping village behind us, reaching the 
beach as dawn was breaking and setting sail 
an hour later. 

,f We buried the remains of my friend at 
sea, and the golden stag for which he had 
risked his life— for which he gave his life* — 
went to a London dustbin. To a London 
dust destructor ; that is all I wanted to tell 
yQ U , — now you know/' 

Kressler paused, but Mrs. Kressler said 
nothing. The cruel fatality of the whole 
business seemed to have stricken her dumb 
as she sat there, her head reclining against 
his shoulder. Kressler, half -shocked with 
the effect of his revelation, looked down at 
her face — she was asleep ! 


Henry E, DutL 

I AM reminded of my promise in the issue for last 

June to present another puszle in paper folding of a 

rather more difficult cha- 
racter than the Hexagon 
example that we then 
considered. Let us, 
then, try our hands at 
this. If you are given 
a perfectly square piece 
vi putter! how are you 
to fold it so as to in- 
dicate by creases a 
regular pentagon, as 
in our illustration, all 
ready to be cut out ? 
Remember that you 

must use your fingers alone, without any instrument or 

measure whatever. 

Professor Walkingholme, one of the exploring 
party, was allotted the special task of making a com 
ph?te circuit of the base of the mountain at a certain 
level. The circuit was exactly too miles m length and 
he had to do it all alone on foot. He could walk so 
miles a da\% but he could only carry rations for two 
days at a time, the rations for each day being packed 
in sealed boxes for convenience in dumping. He 
walked his full 20 miles every day and consumed one 
day's ration as he walked- What is the shortest time 
in which he could complete the circuit ? This simple 
question will be found to form one of the most fasci- 
nating puzzles that we have considered for some time. 
It made a considerable demand on Professor Walking- 
holme's well-known ingenuity. The reader who can 
find the correct solution may congratulate himself. 
The idea was suggested to me by Mr* 1L F* Heath. 

By Henry C J-Zudeney. 

What was the answer ? This is a good trap for the 
youthful arithmetician T who will imagine ail sorts of 
difficulties, such as the unknown length of the man s 
steps, but it is absurdly simple when properly grasped. 

HERE is an old musical enigma sent to me by a 
correspondent ( ll K. L/% The solution is not known, 
and I have not hit on it. Perhaps readers can make 


" I Was walking along the road at three and a half 
miles an hour/' said Mr, Pipkins* •' when the motor- car 
dashed past me and only missed me by a few inches,'* 

M Do you know at what speed it was going ? '* asked 
his friend, 

Sl Well, from the moment it passed me to its dis- 
appearance round a corner I took twenty-seven steps, 
and walking on reached that corner with one hundred 
and thirty-five steps more,*' 

" Then, assuming that you walked, and the car ran, 
each at a uniform rate, we can easily work Out the 

Vol bail -&. 










some suggestions. 1 give it as received in facsimile, 
and assume that the omission of the flat in the vertical 
clef is intentional. My correspondent's old copy is 
bl violet ink. which may not be material to a solution, 
but had better be mentioned. 

It was shown (in our issue for May, 19 18) that a 
sentence may be formed from the twenty-six letters of 
the alphabet and only two repeated letters. One rf 
the examples Riven was BLOWZY FRIGHTS VEX 
AND JUMP QUICK, where the U and I are repeated, 
ft has been suggested to me to form words (not neces- 
sarily a sentence) by using as many letters of the alpha* 
bet as. possible (no repetitions), and it is obvious that 
by striking out the word QUICK above and substi- 
tuting DANK for AND we get a solution with only the 
letters C and Q omitted. Can you form words with 
only a single letttt dropped ? 



The Puzzle Cranks' Symposium 


It is evident that the salesman's rule was to take off 
three-eighths of the price at every reduction. There- 
fore, to be consistent, the motor-car should be offered 
at £78 2s. 6d. after the next reduction. 


The first word is SKILL— KILL— ILL, and the 
second TELEGRAPH. Mr. Wingleford's last question 
is answered by POSTMAN, for no matter how many 
letters you may take from him he still remains a 



As the outside wheels went twice as fast as the 
inside ones the circle they described was twice the 
length of the inner circle. Therefore one circle had 
twice the diameter of the other, and, since the wheels 
were 5 feet apart, the diameter of the larger circle was 
20 feet. Multiply 20 feet by 3*1416 (the familiar 
approximate value for " pi ' T ) and we get 62*832 feet 
as the length of the circumference of the larger circle. 

Make a rough sketch like our diagram and use five 
counters marked X, L, R, A, and B. The engines are 
L and R, and the two cars on the right A and B. The 
three cars on the left are never separated, so we call 
them X. The side track is marked S. Now, play as 
follows : L to S, R A B to left (as far as necessary), 



L off S to left, A B L to right, R to S, A B L to left, 
X A B L to right, R off S to left, R to right, R X A to 
left, R takes A to S, R X to left, R X to right, R to left, 
R to A, R A to left, R A to right, R A X B to left, R 
takes B to S, R A X to left, R A X to right, R A to left, 
R A to B, and both trains right away. There are thus 

24 moves, but first 
two moves involve no 
change of direction, so 
number of moves ac- 
cording to conditions 
is 22. The last move, 
■* trains right away," 
does require a change 
of direction on the 
part of R. 

The illustration 
shows that the five 
cuts can be so cun- 
ningly made as to 
produce as many as 
twenty-one pieces. 

At the start of play 
Wobblestaff put £260 
on thetable,the Baron 
£80, and the Count 
£140. After the three games it will be found that each 
player was left with £160 and Wobblestaff had lost £100. 

Digitized by Li* 


1. P takes Kt (a) and P takes Q P, ch. (b\ 1. R 
takes P ; 2. P to R 6 and P to R 7, 2. .P to Q Kt 3 (;) ; 
3. P to R 8 (Q) and Q to R oVch., 3. K to B 2 • 4. Q 
takes Kt P and Q to R 7, ch,, 4. B to Kt 2 (</) ; 5. Q 
takes B and Q to Kt 5, 5. Q to K 8, ch. (e) ; 6. K to 
B sq. and K takes Q, 6. R to K 2, ch ; 7. Q to K 2 
and Q takes R, ch., etc. (\). 

(a) 1. P takes Q would be fatal to White's chance of 
winning, (b) P takes Kt P would also be bad for White. 

(c) If 4. Q to R 7 ; 5. P to R 8 (Q) and Q takes Q. 

(d) If Black K moved, 5. Q takes R and Q tak<s Q ! 

(e) If Q to Kt 5, ch. ; 6. P to R 3 and P takes Q ! (I) It 
will be seen that if White once gets a Q and can hold it 
for one move the game of Black is invariably hopeless. 
And Black in the position given could not prevent 
White queening. There are slightly better last moves 
on both sides, but I have selected those that afford 
instructive examples of play. case could Black 
save the game. 

What the bear wanted was muslin*. 

As it is evident that Catherine, Jane, and Mary 
received respectively £122, £132, and £142, making 
together the £396 left to the three wives, if John Smith 
receives as much as his wife Catherine, £122 ; Henry 
Snooks half as much again as his wife Jane, £198 ; and 
Tom Crow twice as much as his wife Mary, £284 : we 
have correctly paired these married couples and 
exactly accounted for the £1,000. 


In our diagram the dotted lines represent the cir- 
cumference of the red circle and an inscribed pentagon. 
The centre of both is C. Find D, a point equidistant 
from A, B, and C, and with radius A D draw the circle 
ABC. Five discs of this size will cover the circle if 
placed with their centres at D, E, F, G, and H. If the 
diameter of the large circle is 6 inches, the diameter of 
the discs is a little less than 4 inches, or 4 inches 4 * to 
the nearest half-inch." It requires a little care and 
practice correctly to place the five discs without 
shifting, unless you make some secret markings that 
would not b? noticed by others. 


6 7 


IF you read the story 
of Hugo Breitwisser 
in the dry records of 
the Vienna police, as 
I glanced at it, you would 
find no mention of him as Robin Hood, 
the gallant outlaw of Sherwood Forest who 
robbed the rich to give to the poor. But if 
you were to hear the story, as I heard it, 
from the lips of Inspector Johann Rapp, the 
simple policeman who has made the Crime 
Museum of the Vienna police both an art 
collection and a marvellous school for hunters 
foi criminals, you would feel the thrill of his 
picture of both Robin Hood and Raffles 
coming to life in one man and living in him- 
self the best stories you had read about them. 
We were standing in the room of burglar 
exhibits in the Crime Museum, Inspector 
Rapp" and I, when he turned to a specially- 
const rutted case full of some sort of para- 

" It is the tool-chest of Hugo Breitwisser/ 1 
Inspector Rapp said, proudly. '* He was 
the Edison of burglars, the Robin Hood of 
the modern world, the Raffles of fiction come 
to life. He drew on fiction for his life, and 
in the living improved on fiction. When be 
was killed two years ago he was only twenty- 
eight. Had he lived ten more years such as 
he lived since leaving the university, his 
name would ring round the world and go 
down in romance as the super-burglar in all 
history. But— judge for yourself. 

" He was the son of cultured parents of 
excellent reputation," he went on + "How 
he came to shoot off on his tangent of crime 
you must ask whatever powers create the 
genius and the monster. Even as a strip- 
ling Hugo knew what his career was to be. 

Digitized byLr- 


He had read of Robin 
Hood, and he found his 
hero. I don't mean to say 
that if he hadn't come 
across the story of Robin 
Hood he would have stayed a good citizen. 
No, the character and destiny of the man 
were there early in life, and he planned his 
career with the same care, detail, and 
thought that his fond parents devoted to 
preparing him for mechanical engineering, 

M Indeed, it was at his own urging that he 
was sent to the University of Cratz to study 
engineering. Not that he wanted to learn 
the profession for itself. But he knew it 
would give him considerable training in tool* 
making, knowledge of tensile strength of 
metals, or the construction of vaults and 
safes, of the action of acids and gases on iron 
and steel You see, he was going to college 
to study burglary ; and he was planning his 
own college course. It is the only case I 
have ever heard of a criminal preparing for 
his profession in the same way that a lawyer 
or a doctor prepares for theirs. 

" His single-mindedness as a young man 
in the university was that of a genius. He 
took lessons in wrestling and ' jiu-jitsu/ just 
as young policemen learn these things— and 
for the opposite reasons. He kept away 
from dissipation because it took off the edge 
of keenness of nerve and mind, He ' clubbed J 
and made friends with all sorts of men, 
because it is with all sorts of men that a 
super- criminal would have to deal. 

'One day during a hard winter soon 
after Breitwisser left the university a big 
coal dealer was visited in his office by a de- 
corously-dressed, serious-minded young man, 
" l I am the secretary of a gentleman of 



"Raffles" in Vienna 

considerable means,' the visitor said. ' He 
is moved by the plight of the poor this winter. 
There are leeches of coal dealers who take 
this opportunity of raising the price of fuel 
to prohibitive prices ' 

" 4 What do you want ? ' the coal dealer 
interrupted him, sharply. His prices were 
highest of all. 

'• * My employer wishes to distribute a 
large quantity of coal to the poor. But he 
wants to remain anonymous. So if your 
prices are reasonable I am empowered to 
order from you. You will also have to fur- 
nish a list of about one thousand names and 
addresses of the poorest people in the city 
and deliver the coal in your wagons. For 
all this you will be paid in cash.' 

"The coal dealer stared. But, smarting 
under the characterization of * leech/ he 
began by asking the top price. To his great 
astonishment and delight, the young man 
accepted, and gave him a large order, paying 
for it in crisp new bills. The only conditions 
imposed were that deliveries were to be made 
at once, and that no effort would be made to 
find out who the anonymous donor was. 

" The joyful merchant gladly accepted 
them and proceeded to carry them out at top 
speed. All day and night hundreds of poor 
families were roused to find sacks of coal 
dumped down on their thresholds, sent, as 
they were told, by some unknown lover of the 
poor. The next day the newspapers were 
full of the handsome charity. 

THE other item that filled the news- 
papers that day was an account of a 
highly successful burglary of the coal 
merchant's safe the night before. All the 
money he had received from the ' secretary 
of the anonymous benefactor of the poor : 
had been taken, and another sum in addition. 
The two events, united apparently by acci- 
dent, stirred the public. The police found 
the burglary an extraordinarily skilful per- 
formance, with not a trace as to who had 
done it. 

*' It would have remained a complete 
mystery to this day had not the newspapers 
received, a few days later, copies of an 
anonymous note. It read : — 

" What I took from the safe of coal- 
dealer Metz on Monday night was largely my 
own money, which I had paid him that day 
for deliveries of coal to the poor. The sum 
above that was the ten per cent. I paid myself 
out of his money for the trouble of making a 
leech disgorge the blood he had sucked from 
the veins of the poor. — Robin Hood.' 

" It was not till several years later," 
continued Inspector Rapp, " that we found 
in Hugo Breitwisser the man who had robbed 
the coal dealer and befriended the poor. 
But from the day of the appearance of the 

note in the newspapers his deeds began to 
fill the imagination of the public. 

'• As for the police, we began to see in a 
whole series of expert burglaries the work of 
some one man. Thanks largely to Professor 
Gross and his school of criminologists, we 
soon learned a great deal about this master- 
burglar's methods. But we did not, could 
not, keep up with his new ones. No sooner 
did we solve one method of his — and each 
one was in advance of those used by other 
* burglars — than he developed something new. 
It was usually his own invention — a specially 
effective explosive, a sensitive device to 
register the working of the tumblers of safes 
too strong to blow up, or a gas torch of irre- 
sistible power. 

'• But we were helped by Breitwisser him- 
self. He confined himself almost exclusively 
to robbing notorious exploiters of the poor ; 
and almost immediately after each robbery 
whole districts of poverty-stricken people 
would receive gifts of food, clothing, and 
fuel, or, most frequently of all, money. All 
this gave us plenty of clues in our hunt, and 
several times the police of Vienna caught 
glimpses of him. 

" But it was a serious matter for some of 
them. Hugo Breitwisser had learned from 
the American criminal a great readiness to 
shoot when cornered. The first time this hap- 
pened was when we had laid a trap for him. 
We ' planted ' a story in the newspaper that 
a certain wholesale butcher, who had the 
reputation 'of being a hard creditor, had just 
closed a. big deal with th£ Government and 
had bought a lot of jewellery in celebration. 

''For two weeks we had our men hidden 
every night on the premises of this dealer. 
One night Breitwisser came. We did not 
know he had effected an entrance into the 
house until he was actually in the room 
where the safe was. It was pitch dark. 
Our first intimation that he was there "was 
the sight of a tiny electric light moving about 
the room. Two of our men hurled them- 
selves at what we thought would be the man 
behind the light. Our hands only found a 
long, slender collapsible rod, with Breitwisser 
himself somewhere six feet behind it. 

" By the time one of our men found the 
switch and turned on the lights Breitwisser 
was at the window. As it was three storeys 
above the ground, with nothing to break the 
leap, they thought surely they had him. So 
our men jumped for him, not thinking it 
necessary to shoot. But he had a revolver 
in his hand, and shot down two of our men, 
killing one and mortally wounding another. 
What we did not know — and he did — was 
that at the window there was a patent rope 
fire-escape. Before we could seize him he 
had jumped from the window, the end of the 
rope about himself. 


Joseph Gollomb 


Witt the chain as a weapon, Breitwisser knocked the sentry unconscious. 

11 He landed safely — but in the arms of 
our. men. They talk to this day of the 
terrific fight he put up. Nevertheless, they 
landed him in jail that night. They had 
caught Robin Hood ' at last. 

" The newspapers were full of him next 
day and for two weeks thereafter, while he 
was awaiting trial for robbery and murder. 
With what we thought pardonable vanity, 
he asked for copies of every newspaper that 
said anything about him. He got them ; 
and the prison keepers thought it not at all 
curious that he should want to keep them all. 

1 But one day his cell was found empty. 
Somehow or other he had conceafed a phial 
of some arid, with which he had burned 
away the end of one of his window bars and 
twisted it so that it gave him an opening. 
Hanging from the other bars was found a 
rope — of paper. He had so twisted a lot of 
newspapers that they formed a continuous 

Digitized by Vjt 

rope, tied with strings of mattress-covering, 
so that the paper did not untwist again. 
Once on the ground, he made good his 

It seemed incredible, what Inspector Rapp 
was telling me. But he turned to the 
Breitwisser exhibit, and there was the 
1 ' rope " itself. Like the egg which Columbus 
caused to stand on end, it seemed a simple 
matter once you saw it. 

" Soon afterwards the war broke out," 
Inspector Kapp continued. J In the great 
tumult Breitwisser was almost forgotten. 
But one day a squad of hunters for army 
evaders caught him in their net. They 
didn't know who he was, and thought him 
an ordinary slacker; So they took only 
ordinary precautions. He escaped from the 
military prison with ridiculous ease. 

** But in a land where every able-bodied 
young man was m the army it was difficult 


V.. "v. 

* rv \*tt* ill I bit 
t v m u .1 J»rdbV - '.'II- 

. .1 •'«** '.lit* Viis 

1 '*. * J ( t ^ r T*t^l . u 
^' •>. f "< ^ 

-~ . »t* » « L 

• v - ,f t' P S 

r^n^nfi fc Original from 


Joseph Gollomb 


" Without warning, both side* opened fire, and Breitwisaer toppled over his bicycle 

peasants and strolled down to his cottage. 
He was in the yard cleaning his bicycle. 
Out men knew his readiness with the revolver, 
and had theirs ready. 

" It is hard to telt who became suspicious 
first, Breitwisser or our men. At any rate, 
without warning, both sides opened fire, 
and Breitwisser toppled over his bicycle — 

Digitized by GOOQ I C 

The Austrians have their folk tales, and 
those who befriend the poor are often im- 
mortalized in them, Whether a robber can 
become the hero of such a legend, as Robin 
Hood became the hero of earlier days, it is 
impossible to tell now + But certain it is 
that fiction can find material in this man, 
who went to fiction as a guide to living, and 
then outstripped his guide, 






WITH hands behind his 
back, Father Daly 
stood looking out of 
the window. The Governor of 
the prison sat at his desk, reflectively 
smoking a long, thin cigar. For several 
minutes neither had spoken. 

The Governor blew a cloud of smoke to 
the ceiling, inspected the end of his cigar 
critically, drummed fingers on the desk. He 
glanced at the clock, peered over his shoulder 
at the chaplain, and cleared his throat. 

'* Was he quiet when you left him ? * J 

" Perfectly calm,' 1 replied Father Daly, a 
Irille abstracted, 'and I believe he'll stay 
so to the end." 

The Governor threw away his cigar, but 
took another from the box on his desk. He 
was verging toward sixty, and his responsi- 
bilities had printed themselves in italics on 
his countenance. His brown hair and busby 
eyebrows were heavily shot with grey ; 
there were deep parentheses of wrinkles at 
the corners of his mouth, and innumerable 
fine lines about his eyes. His bearing indi- 
cated that he was accustomed to rank as a 
despot, and yet his expression was far from 
that of an unreasoning tyrant, The Governor 
believed that in each of us there is a constant 
oscillation of good and evil ; that all evil 
should justly be punished in this world t and 
that all good should be generously rewarded 
— in the next, 

'* You've got to admit he's plucky," the 
Governor said. " I never saw such nerve in 
all my life, It isn't bluff, and it isn't a trance, 
either, like some of them have — it's plain 
nerve." He shook his head in frank 

" That's the pity of it — that a man with 
all his courage hasn't a better use for it," 

Digitized by C-OOQ I C 


said Father Daly, sorrowfully. 
'' Even now it is very difficult 
for me to reconcile his character, 
as 1 see it, with what we know he has done." 

" 1 can't understand him a bit/ J 

" Nor I/' 

' When he sent for you last night I hoped 
he was going to talk," the Governor 

" He did talk, very freely." 

" What about ? " 

Father Daly smiled faintly, and sat 
beside the desk. -l Everything/' he said t 

i- Himself ? " queried the Governor, look- 
ing up quickly. 

*' No. That seems to be the only subject 
be isn't interested in." 

The Governor leaned on his desk with 
both elbows. 

M He still won't give you any hint as to 
who he really is ? " 

" Xot the slightest, He doesn't intend to, 
either. He intends to die as a man of 
mystery to us. Sometimes I wonder if he 
isn't just as much of a mystery to himself." 

M Oh, he's trying to shield somebody, 
that's alL James Dyke isn't his right name 
— we know that ; and we know all the rest 
of his story is a fake, too. Well, where is 
his motive ? I'll tell you where it is : it's 
to keep his family and his friends, wherever 
they are, from knowing what has happened. 
I^ots of them have the same idea, but I 
never knew one to carry it as far as this 
before. All we know is that we have a man 
under sentence of death ; and we don't 
know who he is, or where he comes from, or 
anything else about him, or any more than 
we rlici four months ago." 

Father Daly stroked his chin reflectively. 
He was a slender, white-haired priest of 


Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass 73 

somewhat more than middle age, dressed in 
slightly shabby clericals. His face was 
calm, intellectual, and inspiring ; but just 
at this moment it gave evidence of a peculiar 

" It takes nioral courage for a man to shut 
himself away from his family and his friends 
like that," he said. " They could have com- 
forted him." 

" Not necessarily," said the Governor, 
getting up, looking at the clock, and glancing 
out of one of the windows. " I believe I'm 
getting too old for this sort of thing. An 
execution didn't bother me so much years 
ago, but every time one comes along nowa- 
days, my nerves seem to become raw. This 
time it's ten times worse than ever." 

" It certainly isn't a pleasant duty, even 
with the worst of them," agreed Father 
Daly, grimly. 

" But," said the Governor, wheeling back 
abruptly, " what bothers me is why I should 
hate this one more than any of the others. 
The boy is absolutely guilty." 

" Yes ; he killed a man." 

" And he pleaded guilty. So he deserves 
just what he's going to get." 

" That is the law. However, has it ever 
occurred to you that every now and then 
when a criminal behaves in a rather gentle- 
manly fashion to us, we instinctively think 
of him as just a little less of a criminal ? " 

" It has," agreed the Governor. " But 
all the same, this attitude of his makes me 
curiously nervous. He pleaded guilty, but 
he doesn't act guiltily. I feel just as if at 
eight o'clock this morning we were going to 
do something every bit as criminal as he 
did. I can't help it. And when I begin to 
feel like that, why, I suppose it's pretty 
nearly time I sent in my resignation." 

" His whole attitude has been very re- 
markable," said Father Daly, reflectively. 
" Why, only a few minutes ago I found 
myself comparing it with the fortitude that 
the Christian martyrs carried to their death, 
and vet " 

" He's no martyr ! " 

" I know. And he's anything in, the 
world but a Christian. That was just what 
I was going to say." 

" Has he any religious streak in him at 
all ? " 

" I'm afraid not. He listens to me very 

attentively, but " — the chaplain shrugged 

his shoulders — " it's only because I offer him 
companionship. Anybody else would do 
quite as well — and any other topic would 
suit him better." 

" Well, if he wants to face God as a 
heathen, we can't force him to change his 

" No," agreed Father Daly, with gentle 
reproach ; " but we can never give up trying 

Digitized by v*OOQ IC 

to save his immortal soul. And his soul to- 
night seems dark and foreboding. Yet I 
haven't given up hope." 

" No— you wouldn't." 

"I must go back to him. Are you going 
to taHc to hini again yourself ? " asked the 

THE Governor opened a drawer of his 
desk, and brought out a large envelope. 
" There's three hundred pounds of his 
in here," he said. M If he'll only tell me who 
to send that money to, the mystery will be 
half solved. But he won't. He hasn't done 
so up to now. Anyway, I'm going to have 
another shot at making him talk." 

" Shall I go with you to see him, or do you 
want to see him alone ? " 

The Governor sat deliberately with one 
hand at his forehead and the other hand 
tapping the desk. 

" Father," he said, " you have given me 
an idea. I believe I'm going to do some- 
thing now that's never been done before in 
this prison ; that is to say — not during the 
twenty-eight years that I've been Governor." 

" And that is ? " 

" Instead of our going to see him, I'll have 
that boy brought into this office and let 
him sit here with you and'me." 

" All right," agreed the chaplain, " But 
what is your idea, exactly ? " 

" Perhaps," said the Governor, tapping 
the desk with his knuckles, " perhaps if he 
sits here awhile with just you and me, and 
we tackle him properly, he will feel different 
and tell us about himself. It will be quite 
different from being in his cell ; it'll be so 
much less formal, and maybe he'll weaken." 
He rang a bell. " Jones," he said to the 
warder who appeared, M I want you to fetch 
Dyke here." The jailer stared blankly at 
him, and the Governor's voice took on an 
added note of authority. " Fetch Dyke here 
to me." 

" Yes, sir," said the warder, disappearing, 
just as the telephone on the desk rang. 

A few moments later the Governor 
mopped his forehead with a handkerchief as 
he hung the receiver up. 

" That was Querk, the K.C.," he said. 
" He says there's a girl on her way here with 
a special permit from the Home Office to see 
Dyke. She thinks he's her long-lost brother. 
She's due here any minute." Again he 
looked at the clock. 

" Poor girl ! " commented the chaplain. 

Dyke and three warders appeared at the 
door. The condemned man halted, waiting 
passively to be told what to do next. He 
had a lean, pale face, with high forehead, 
good eyes, and a strong chin. His mouth 
was ruled in a firm, straight line, and his 
wavy hai® r j^jrfts 'prematurely grey. His 



The Valiant 

*' The Governor leaned back and surveyed the prisoner thoughtfully. ' Dyke/ he said, ' I want 

figure had the elasticity of youth, but he 
might have passed among strangers either 
as a man of forty, or as a man of twenty- 
five, depending upon the mobility of his 
features at a given moment. 

"The escort will remain there/' said the 
Governor. '* Come in, Dyke, Sit down," 

DYKE went directly to the chair indicated 
and sat down. 

"Thank you, sir/' he said, simply. 
The Governor leaned back and surveyed 
the prisoner thoughtfully. 

by Google 

'* Dyke/' he said, " I want to tell you that 
from first to last all the time you've been 
hefe you have behaved yourself like a 

" Why should I cause trouble ? " the man 
asked, His manner was vaguely cynical 
without being in the least impertinent* 

" Well, you haven't caused any trouble, 
and I've tried to show what I think about 
it. I have made you as comfortable as the 
law would let me." 

" You have been very kind to me," he 
said. Then, glancing over his shoulder at 


Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass 75 

maybe you don't understand why it doesn't 
give me much of a thrill/' 

' My son," said Father Daly, " the 
Governor is only trying to do you one more 

f I know he is, Father ; 
but there really isn't very 
much of a gamble in it for 
him. From now on, one 

to tell you that all the time you've been here you have behaved yourself like a gentleman, 

the chaplain, he added : "And you, too, 

" I have had you brought in here to 
talk/ 1 Dyke looked inquiringly at the 
Governor. " To talk with Father Daly 
and me." 

All right," replied Dyke, carelessly. 

'■ You don't seem to understand that I'm 
doing something a long way out of the 
ordinary for you," said the Governor, a 
trifle piqued at this cool reception of a very 
distinguished favour, 

'Oh, yes, I do," said Dyke; "but 



place is about the same as another— from 
my point of view." 

■' What do you mean ? " asked the- 

' Why, I mean/' said Dyke, his voice very 
faintly sarcastic, *'that I'm just as much a 
condemned prisoner here as when I was in 
my cell/' 

,b Would you rather wait in your cell ? ** 
asked the Governor. 

41 Oh t no ; this is a little pleasanter, 
except " 

■• Except ^iwfePftann 


7 6 

The Valiant 

" In my cell I could smoke." 

44 What do you want — cigar or 
cigarette ? " 

" Thank you," said Dyke. ** A cigarette, 

The Governor opened a drawer of his 
desk, took out a box of cigarettes, removed 
one and handed it to Dyke. Then he struck 
a match, held it while Dyke got a light, and 
carefully put out the match. 

44 Thanks. You're a good host," said 
Dyke, smiling faintly. 

44 Before it's too late," said the Governor, 
" I wish you'd think over what Father Daly 
and I have said to you so many times." 

11 I've thought of nothing else," replied 

" Then — as man to man — and this is your 
last chance — who are you ? " 

Dyke inspected the cigarette. 

44 Who am I ? James Dyke — a mur- 

44 That isn't your real name," the Governor 

44 You're not going to hang a name — 
you're going to hang a man," said Dyke. 
44 What difference does it make whether you 
call me Dyke or something else ? " 

" You had another name once. What 
was it ? " 

44 If I had, I've forgotten it." 

" Your mind is made up, my son ? " put 
in the chaplain. 

4 Yes, Father. It is." 

" You see this pile of letters ? " said the 

" Yes, sir," replied Dyke. 

" Every one of them is about the same 
thing, and altogether we've had many 
hundreds of them. These are just a 
few samples." 

44 What about them ? " asked Dyke. 

44 We've had letters from all over the 
British Isles." 

4 ' Well ? " murmured the condemned man. 

" Do you know what every one of those 
letters says ? " the Governor asked, im- 

4 No, sir." 

" Who are you — and are you the missing 
son — or brother — or husband — or sweet- 
heart ? " 

Dyke flicked his cigarette ashes to the 

" Have they been answered ? " he asked. 

" No ; and that is your fault." 

" How's that ? " asked Dyke. 

" How can we tell them who you are ? 
Can't you see you ought to make it clear ? " 

" No, sir," said Dyke. " I can't exactly 
see that. Suppose you explain it to me." 

' You're trying to shield somebody, aren't 
you ? " broke from the Governor suddenly. 

" Yes— no. I'm not ! 

by L^OOgle 

The Governor glanced at Father Daly and 
nodded with elation, 

" Who is it ? " he asked. " Your family ? " 
*' I $aid I'm not," Dyke persisted. 
" But first, you said you were." 
" That was a slip of the tongue." 
14 Just listen to me a minute, Dyke," said 
the Governor, persuasively. " Don't be 
narrow ; look at this thing in a big, broad 
way. Suppose you should tell me your real 
name, and I publish it, it will bring an 
awful lot of sorrow, let's say, to one family, 
one home, and that 'a your own. That is 
probably what you are thinking about. Am 
I right ? You want to spare your family, and 
in one way I don't blame you. On the sur- 
face, it would look like a fine thing for you to 
do. But look at it this way : suppose you 
tell the exact truth, you might put all that 
sorrow into one home — your own ; though 
at the same time you'd be putting a tremen- 
dous amount of relief into hundreds of 
others. Don't you understand that ? Don't 
you see you owe something to all these other 
people ? " 

"I do not," replied Dyke. 

FATHER DALY, who had been pacing 
to and fro silently, suddenly halted. 
14 The Governor is absolutely right," he 
said. " You do owe something to the other 
people — you owe them peace of mind ; and 
for the sake of all those hundreds of poor 
distressed women, who imagine God knows 
what, I beg of you to tell us who you are." 

44 Father, I simply can't do it," replied 

44 Think carefully, my boy ; think very 
carefully. We're not asking out of idle 
curiosity," the chaplain urged. 

44 I know that, Father," said Dyke ; '* but 
please don't let's talk about it any more. 
It's quite simple to tell the writers of those 
letters that I'm not the man they 'rebooking 
for. That w r ill be the truth, too. 'Because 
I haven't any mother— or father— or sister — 
or wife — or sweetheart. That's fair enough, 
isn't it ? " 

Father Daly sighed wearily. 4 * As you 
will, my son," he said. 

44 There's one more thing," put in the 

4 ' Yes, sir." 

The Governor took up the envelope from 
his desk. M That belongs to you. Three 
hundred pounds." 

44 Good-looking, isn't it ? " was Dyke's 
only comment. 

" What do you want us to do with it ? " 
the Governor asked casually. 

' Well, I can't very well take them with 
me; so, under the circumstances, I'd like 
to put them where they'll do the most good," 
replied Dyke. a j na i from 


Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass 77 

t% Who do you want us to send it to ? " 
the Governor asked, more casually yet. 

Dyke laughed quietly. 

•' Now sir, you didn't think you were going 
to catch me that way, did you ? " 

The Governor frowned. " Perhaps some- 
body would be glad of the money," he said. 

Dyke crossed his legs and tossed the en- 
velope to the desk. 

" I don't know," he said. " IT1 think of 
something to do with it. I'll tell you in — in 
time. Is there anything else ? " 

" Not unless you want to make some sort 
of statement." 

' No ; I think I've said everything. I 
killed a man, and I'm not sorry for it — that 
is, I'm not sorry I killed that particular 
person. I " 

Father Daly raised his hand. 

" Repentance " he began. . 

" Father," Dyke interrupted, " I have 
heard that repentance is the sick-bed of the 
soul — and mine is very well and flourishing. 
The man deserved to be killed ; he wasn't 
fit to live. It was my duty to kill him, and I 
did it. I had never struck a man in anger 
in. all my life, but when I knew what that 
fellow had done, I knew I had to kill him, and 
I did it deliberately and intentionally — and 
carefully. I knew what I was doing, and I 
haven't any excuse — that is, I haven't any 
excuse that satisfies the law. Now, I learned 
pretty early in life that whatever you do in 
this world you have to pay for in one way or 
another. If you kill a man, the price you 
have to pay is this " — he made a gesture 
which swept the entire room — " and I'm 
going to pay it. That's all there is to say 
about that. And in less than an hour from 
now, while my body is lying dead, if a couple 
of angel policemen arrest my soul and take 
it up before the Creator " 

" Hush, my boy," protested the chaplain, 
profoundly shocked. 

"I lpeg your pardon, Father. I don't 
mean to trample on anything that's sacred 
to you, but what I do mean to say is this : 
if I've got to be judged after my death for 
the crime of murder, I'm not afraid ; be- 
cause the other fellow will certainly be there, 
too, won't he ? And the whole story — both 
sides of it — will be known. You never heard 
it and never will ; and they never heard it 
in court either. In the circumstances, I'm 
quite willing to take my chance. That's 
how concerned I am about the hereafter. 
And, if it'll make you feel any better, 
Father, why, I do rather think there's going 
to be a hereafter. I read a book once that 
said a milligram of musk will give out per- 
fume for seven thousand years, and a milli- 
gram of radium will give out light for 
seventy thousand. Why shouldn't a soul — 
mine, for instance — live more than twenty- 

Digiiiz&d by dOOQ IC 

seven ? But if there isn't any hereafter — if 
we just die and are dead and that's all — why, 
I'm still not sorry and I'm not afraid, 
because I'm square with the other fellow — 
the law is square with me, and it's all 
balanced on the books." 

AWARDER knocked at the door. 
" Well ? What is it ? " asked the 

'• Visitor to see you, sir. With a note 
from the Home Office." 

" A girl ? " 

" Yes, sir." 

•• Have her thoroughly searched, and then 
wait till I call you. Dyke," he added, turning 
to the condemned man, " a young woman 
has just come to see you — do you want to 
see her ? " 

" I don't think so. What does she want ? " 

,f She thinks perhaps she's your sister, 
and she's come hundreds of miles to find 

M She's wrong. I haven't any sister." 

The Governor hesitated a moment. Then : 
" Shall I tell her that, or do you want to 
tell her yourself ? " 

" Oh, you tell her. But — just a second — 
she's come hundreds of miles to see me, did 
you say ? " 

" Yes ; and she's got special permission 
from the Home Office to talk to you." 

" And a year ago," said Dyke, " nobody 'd 
have crossed the street to look at me. Now 
they come hundreds of miles ! " 

Father Daly turned to him. 

" This is one of your debts to humanity, 
Dyke. It wouldn't take you two minutes t9 
see her ; and, if you don't, after she's made 
that long journey in hope and dread and 
suffering " 

" Where can I talk with her — here ? " 

" If you wish," said the Governor. 

" Alone ? " 

" Father and I will leave you with her and 
two armed guards." 

4 I haven't the faintest idea who the girl 
is," said Dyke ; "' but if she happens to be 
some poor, misguided, sentimental fool, with 
a dose of cyanide of potassium for me, she's 
wasting her time. I wouldn't cheat the law 
in this matter for anything in the world — 
not even to please a young lady." 

The Governor went into the next room. 

*" Has she been thoroughly searched ? " he 
asked a warder. 

M Yes, sir." 

M Everything all right ? " 

4- Yes, sir." 

M Bring her in, then," he said, throwing 
away his cigar. 

A young girl appeared on the threshold, 
and cast about in mingled curiosity and 
apprehension She was fresh and wholesome, 

iiii 1 1 ■_' 1 1 



The Valiant 

and rather pretty ; but her manner betrayed 
a certain spiritual aloofness from the" ultra- 
modern world. Her dress was not quite 
old-fashioned, yet it hinted at the taste and 
repression of an old-fashioned home. 

She was neither timid nor aggressive, but 
was self-unconscious. She looked at the 
Governor squarely, yet not in boldness, nor 
in feminine appeal. Rather she had the 
fearlessness of a girl who had lost none of her 
illusions about men. in general. Her ex- 
pression was essentially serious ; it con- 
veyed, however, the idea that her seriousness 
was due to her present mission, and that 
ordinarily she took active joy in the mere 
pleasure ot existence. 

The Governor, who had expected a very 
different type of visitor, coughed slightly. 
" All right, Wilson," he said ; and the 
warder went out. 

WILL you sit down ? " 
' Thank you," the girl said, 
taking the chair beside his desk 
and regarding him trustfully. He was 
palpably affected by her youth and inno- 
cence, and not quite sure how best to 
proceed, but eventually made an awkward 

" You want to see Dyke, I understand ? " 
" Yes — I hope I'm not — too late." 
" No, you're not too late." He was 
appraising her carefully. " But I want to 
ask you a few questions beforehand. I just 
want to make it easier for you, not harder. 
Where do you live ? ' 

' In Wheatley — a Cumberland village." 
" And you live there with your father and 
mother ? " 

' No ; just my mother and I. My 
father died when I was a little baby." 

Why didn't you mother come here her- 
self, instead of sending you f ' 

* She couldn t She's ill. " 

" I see. Have you any brothers or 
sisters ? " , * 

' Just one brother — this one. He and I 
were the only children. We were very fond 
of each other. ' She was a shade more at 
her ease now. 

' He was considerably older than you ? " 
asked the Governor. 

' Oh, yes. Ten years. older." 
' Why did he leave home ? " 

" I don't really know, except that he just 
wanted to live in large towns. W r heatley is 
very small.' 

" How long is it since you last saw him ? " 

* Eight years." 

1 As long as that ? " 

The Governor's voice was almost paternal. 
'" H'm ! And how old are you now ? " 
" Almost eighteen." 
•' Almost eighteen," the Governor repeated 

by Google 

slowly. " H'm ! And are you sure after all 
this time that you would recognize your 
brother if you saw him ? " 

' Well " — she looked down, as if embar- 
rassed to make the admission—' ' of course, I 
—I think so; but perhaps I couldn't. You 
see, I was, only a, little girl when he >Vent 
away. He wasn't a bad boy ; I don't think 
he ever could be really bad. But. if this is 
my brother, he has been in a great deal of 
trouble, and you r know that trouble makes 
people look different." 

" Yes, it does. But what is it makes you 
think this man Dyke may be your brother — 
and why didn't you think of it sooner ? The 
case has been in the papers for the last six 

" It wasn't until the day before yesterday 
that mother saw a photograph of him in one 
of the papers. It did look just the least little 
bit like him, and mother wanted me to come 
and find out for sure. ' 

' I see," said the Governor. It's too 
bad she couldn't come herself. She would 
probably know him, whether he had changed 
or not." 

" Yes ; but I'll do the best I can." 

" When was the last time you heard from 
him, and where was he, and what was he 
doing? " 

•' Why, it's about six or seven years since 
we had a letter from Joe. He was in New 
Zealand then." 

•What doing ? " 

•' I don't remember. Before he left home, 
though, he worked in a library. He liked 

•' Why do you suppose he didn't write 
home ? " asked the Governor, suspiciously. 

"I — I couldn't say. He was just — 
thoughtless." i 

** Wasn't in trouble of any kind ? " 

" Oh, no ! Never. That is — unless he's — 
here now." *\\ 

The Governor deliberated. Then^— - ' 

■ How are you going to identify him ? 
You say that it is quite possibleyou wouldn't 
know him even if you saw him ; and I'll 
guarantee this man Dyke won't help you out 
very much. How do you think you're going 
to tell ? Suppose he doesn't want to be re- 
cognized by you or anybody else ? Suppose 
he's so ashamed of himself that he ? " 

" I had thought of that," the girl broke 
in. "I'm just going to talk to him — ask 
him questions — about things he and I used 
to do together. I'll watch his face, and if he 
is my brother I am sure I can tell." 

The Governor looked at her with tolerant 

'• What did you and your brother ever do 
together that would help you now ? " 

" He used to play games with me when I 
was a little girl, and tell me stories : that's 


Holworthv Hall and Robert Middlemass 

1 Dyke, this is the young lady who has come all the way from Cumberland to see 
you/ Dyke inspected her coldly from head to foot," 

what I'm counting on mostly — the stories/ 1 girl. M He used to get the plots of the plays 

M I'm afraid Jl the Governor began, — all the Shakespeare plays — out of a book 

Especially Shakespeare stories/ 1 said the by a man named Lamb, and then he'd tell me 



The Valiant 

the stories in his own words. It was 
wonderful ! " 

The Governor shook his head. 

" Why do you do that ? " she asked. 

"I'm afraid this boy isn't your brother. 
I'll let you see him for yourself, only you 
might as well be prepared. If he turns out 
to be your brother — which he won't — you 
can have, say, twenty minutes with him. If 
he isn't, please cut it as short as you can." 

The girl's lips trembled. 

" You see," she said, " I must tell mother 
something perfectly definite. She has always 
worried about him, and — and now the sus- 
pense is terrible for her. It would be awful 
for us if this is Joe ; but even that would be 
better for mother than just to stay awake at 
nights, and wonder and wonder, and never 
know what became of him." 

" Come along then," he said, and took her 
to his own office. 

"Dyke, this is the young lady who has come 
all the way from Cumberland to see you." 

Dyke, who had been talking in an under- 
tone to Father Daly, raised his head quickly. 

" Yes, sir ? " 

The girl had risen, breathless, and stood 
fixed. Dyke inspected her coldly from head 
to foot. 

" Thank you," he said to the Governor. 
" It won't take long." 

The Governor had been scanning the 
girl's expression. Now, as he saw that she 
neither recognized Dyke nor failed to recog- 
nize him, he made a little grimace in con- 
firmation of his own judgment. Then he 
and Father Daly left them with the armed 

DYKE and the girl faced each other ; 
Dyke, well-poised and insouciant, 
giving the impression of complete 
indifference to the moment. The girl, on 
the other hand, was deeply agitated, and 
her agitation was gradually increased by 
Dyke's own attitude. 

" Mother sent me to see you," she declared, 
after several efforts to speak. 

" Yes ? " He was politely callous. 

" You see, we haven't seen or heard of 
my brother Joe for ever so long, and mother 
thought — after she saw a picture of you in 
the paper " 

" That I might be your brother Joe ? " 

" Yes, that's it," she declared, obviously 

" Well, you can easily see that I'm not 
your brother, can't you ? " 

She was looking hard at him now. 

" I'm not sure. You look a little like him, 
just as the picture in the paper did ; but 
then again, it's so long " — she crinkled her 
eyebrows dubiously — " and I thought of Joe 
so differently " 

by L^OOgle 

"As a matter of fact," he said, " I 
couldn't be your brother or anybody else's 
brother, because I never had a sister. So 
that rather settles it." His manner had 
become somewhat indulgent, as though to 
a child. 

" Honestly ? " she exclaimed, 

" Honestly." 

The girl, however, was unconvinced, and 
became more appealing. 

" What is your real name ? " 

" Dyke— Dyke— James Dyke." 

" You mean that ? " 

" Certainly. You don't think I'd tell a lie 
at this stage of the game, do you ? '' 

" No, I don't believe you would. Where 
do you come from — I mean where were you 
born ? " 

" In London ; but I've lived all over the 

•' Didn't you ever live in Cumberland ? " 
she asked quickly. 

" No. ^ever." 

" What kind of work did you do — what 
was your business ? " 

* Oh, I'm a sort of Jack-of -all-trades. I 
have been everything a man could be — 
except a success." 

" Do you like books ? " 

" Books ? " 

" Yes — books to read." 

" I don't read when .there's anything 
better to do." 

" Did you ever work in a library — for a 
living, I mean ? " 

" Oh, no." 

The girl was growing confused. 

" I hope you don't mind my asking so 
many questions," she said. "But I " 

" No — go on, if it will relieve you," said 

%i Did you ever want to be an actor ? Or 
were you ever ? " 

•• No." 

#i Do you know any poetry ? " the ques- 
tion came, helplessly. 

•• Not to speak of." 

She paused a moment ; and then, watching 
him very earnestly, recited just above her 
breath : — 

" ' Thou knowst the mask of night is on my 
Else would a maiden blush be paint my 

For thai which ' " 

Realizing that Dyke's expression was one 
of utter vacuity she faltered and broke off, 
but continued to watch him unwaveringly. 

" Don't you know what that is ? " she 

" No. To tell the truth, it sounds silly to 
me. Doesn't it to you ? " 

She gathered courage and put him to one 


Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass 81 


more test, though her intonation had become 
slightly forlorn : — 

" * Good night, good night, parting ts such 
sweet sorrow 
That I shall say good night till %t be 
morrow.* " 

"Eh?" exclaimed Dyke, his mouth 
twitching in apparent amusement. 

•• What comes next ?■" she asked. 

" Good Lord ! I don't know." 

She gazed intently, almost imploringly, at 
him, as though making a struggle to read his 
mind. Then she relaxed and held out her 

" Good-bye. You — you're not Joe, are 
you ? I — I had • to come and find out, 
though. I hope I haven't made you too 

Dyke ignored her hand. 

" You're not going now ? " he asked. 

" Yes," she said, spiritless. M I promised 
the — is he the Governor — that man in 
there ? I said I should not stay if you 
weren't my brother. And you aren't, 
so " 

" You're going back to your mother ? " 

" Yes," she said, quietly. 

" I'm surprised that she sent a girl like 
you on a sorry errand like this, instead 
of " 

" She's ill." 

'" Oh, that's too bad." 

"She's very ill," said the girl, twisting her 
handkerchief. " And most of it is from 
worrying about Joe." 

" Still," said Dyke, " when you tell her 
that her son isn't a murderer — at least, that 
he isn't this one — that will comfort her a 
good deal, won't it ? " 

" Yes, I think perhaps it will," she ad- 
mitted reluctantly ; " only " 

" Only what ? " 

" I don't think mother will ever be really 
well again until she finds out for certain 
where Joe is and what has become of 

Dyke shook his head compassionately. 

" Mothers ought not to be treated like 
that," he said. " I wish I'd treated mine 
better. By the way, you didn't tell me what 
your name is." 

" Josephine Paris." 

" Paris ! " Dyke had become suddenly 
attentive. " That's an unusual name. I've 
heard it somewhere, too." 

" Just like the name of the city — in 

" And your brother's name was Joseph ? " 
Dyke queried, knitting his brows. 

" Yes — they used to call us Joe and 
Josie ; that's funny, isn't it ? " 

" No," said Dyke, thoughtfully. " I don't 
think it's so very funny — I rather like it." 

Vol. ixiit — e. 

Digitized by L^OOgle 

He passed liis hand over his forehead, as if 
trying to coerce his memory. 

WHAT'S the matter ? " she asked. 
" I was thinking of something," 
said Dyke, frowning. "Now, what 
on earth was that boy's name ! Wait a 
minute, don't tell me — wait a minute-r- 
I've got it 1 " He punctuated his triumph 
with one fist in the palm of the other hand. 
" Joseph Anthony Paris ! " 

The girl stared at him, amazed. " Why," 
she declared, " that's his name 1 That's 
Joe ! How did you ever ? " 

" Wait ! Now listen carefully to what I 
say, and don't interrupt me, because we've 
only got a minute or two, and I want you to 
remember this correctly." His manner had 
suddenly become very forcible and con- 
vincing. " I want you to tell your mother. 
During the war I was in France for four 
years. Early one morning we'd made a big 
trench raid, and there was an officer who'd 
been wounded coming back, and was lying 
out tbere in a shell-hole under fire; The 
Germans were getting ready for a raid on 
their own, so they were putting down a 
barrage. This officer was lying right in the 
middle of it. Well, all of a sudden a young 
fellow I knew by the name of Cox dashed 
out of our trench and went for that officer. 
He had to go through a curtain of shells. and, 
more than that, they opened on him with 
rifles and machine-guns. The chances were 
just about a million to one against him, and 
he must have known it, but he went out just 
the same. He got the officer in his arms and 
started back, but he'd only gone a few yards 
when a shell burst close to them. We got 
them in, but the youngster died an hour later. 
I had a few words with him, and just before 
he died he was telling me how he'd enlisted 
under a wrong name — that his real name was 
Joseph Anthony Paris. I was going to take 
a message for his folks at home, but the Ger- 
mans came over then. And when I got back 
Cox — that is, Paris — was dead." 

The girl put both hands to her breast. 
" Oh ! " she breathed softly. 

"If that was your brother's name," said 
Dyke, " then you can tell your mother that 
he died like a brave man and a soldier, in 

" Joe — my brother Joe — is dead ? " the 
girl said, slowly. , 

" On the field of battle. It was one of the 
wonderful heroic things that went almost 
unnoticed, as so many of them did. If an 
officer had seen it, there would have been a 
decoration for your mother to keep and re- 
member him by." 

" And you were there — and saw it ? " 

" I was there and saw it. It was five 
years ago now. That's why you and your 



The Valiant 

mother haven't heard from him. It cer- 
tainly ought to make your mother happy 
when she knows that her boy died as a 
soldier and not as a criminal." 

" Yes, yes ; it will ! " the girl declared, 

" And does it make you happy, too ? " 
Dyke asked. 

44 Yes. So happy — after what we were 
both afraid of — I can't even cry — yet." 
She brushed her eyes with her handkerchief. 
" I can hardly wait to take the news to 

DYKE was struck by a sudden inspira- 
tion. . ... . . 

" I want to give you something else 
to take to her," he said;; picking up from the 
desk the envelope containing the money. 
"I want you to give this to your mother from 
me. Tell her it is from a man who saw how 
your brother died, so it's a sort of memorial 
for him." He touched her arm as she 
absently began to tear open the envelope. 
" No ; don't you open it — let her do it.'* 

" What is it ? Can't I know ? " she 

" Never mind now," said Dyke, " but give 
it to her. It's all I have in the world and it's 
too late now for me to do anything else with 
it. And get your mother to buy a little gold 
locket to wear for her son — and you get one, 
too, and wear it — here ! " He touched his 
heart. 4t Will you ? " 

M Yes — I will," she said. " And yet 
somehow I shall almost feel that I'm wearing 
it for you, too." 

" Oh, no ! -You mustn't ever do that. 
I'm not fit to be mentioned in the same 
breath with a boy like your brother. And 
now " — glancing at the clock — " I'm afraid 
it is time for you to go. I'm sorry, but — 
you'd better. I'm glad you came before it 
was too late, though." 

" Good-bye, and thank you," she said, 
giving him her hand. " You've done more 
for me — and mother — than I could possibly 
tell you. And — and I'm so sorry for you — 
so truly sorry — I wish I could only do some- 
thing to make you a tiny bit happier, too. 
7s there anything I could do ? " 

Dyke stared at her and by degrees became 

" Why — yes, there is," he said. " Only 
I " He left the sentence uncompleted. 

" What is it ? " she asked. 

" I can't tell you," said Dyke, looking 
awav. " I never should have let myself 
think of it." 

" Please tell me," the girl pleaded. " I 
want you to. For — for Joe's sake, tell me 
what I can do." 

" Well " — Dyke's voice was low and deso- 
late — " during all the months I've been in 

by Google 

prison, you're the first girl I've seen. I 
didn't ever expect to see one again. I'd for- 
gotten how much like angels women look. 
I've been terribly lonely, this morning es- 
pecially, and if you really do want to do 
something for me — for your brother's 
sake — you see, you're going to leave me 
in just a minute and — and I haven't any 
sister of my own, or anybody else, to say 
good-bye to me — so, if you could — really 
say good-bye " 

She looked at him for a moment, under- 
stood, flushed, and then slowly moved into 
his outstretched arms. He held her close to 
him, touched his lips to her forehead twice, 
and then released her. 

" Good-bye, my dear," he said, thickly. 

" Good-bye ." She endeavoured to smile, 
but her voice caught in her throat. " Good- 

" What is it ? " Dyke asked, impulsively. 

" N — nothing/' she answered. 

" Nothing ? " 

14 I was thinking," she declared, clutching 
her handkerchief tight in her palm, '* I was 
thinking what I used to say to my brother — 
for good night." She very nearly broke 
down. " If I only could have — have said it to 
him just once more — for good-bye." 

" What was it ? " Dyke's mouth twitched. 

44 I — I told it to you once, and you said it 
Avas silly." 

M Say it again," asked Dyke, gently. 

She could not quite control her voice. 

14 4 Good night, good night, parting is such 
sweet sorrow 
That I shall say good night till it he 

morrow. 1 " 

She went uncertainly toward the door, 
hesitated, almost turned back, and then with 
a little choking sob hurried away. For 
several seconds Dyke stood rigidly intent 
upon that doorway ; until at length, without 
changing his attitude or his expression, he 
spoke very tenderly and reminiscently : — 

** * Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in 
thy breast : 
Would I were sleep and peace, so sweet 
to rest.* " 

THE Governor and Father Daly came in 
quietly, and as they saw Dyke, rapt 
and unconscious of them, they looked 
at each other, question in gly. The Governor 
glanced at the clock and was about to inter- 
rupt Dyke's solitary reflections, but Father 
Daly quietly restrained him. 

Dyke turned at last, as though unwillingly, 
from the door. There were depths in his 
eyes, and his thoughts were evidently far 
away. He sat heavily in the chair and 
leaned outward, his right hand on his knee. 


HoJworthy Hall and Robert Middlemass s 3 

Hj . 

He held her close to him* touched his lips to her forehead twice, and ihen released her. 

He put his left hand to his throat as though 
to protect it from a sudden pain. Then 
gazing straight ahead into the unknown, he 
spoke in reverie :— 

* * Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 
It seems to me most strange that men 

should fear ; 
Seeing thai death, a necessary end, 
Will come when it will come/ tJ 

He stopped, musing for a time, while 
the Governor glanced perplexedly at 
Father Daly to discover if the priest could 
interpret this. Father Daly's face was 

Again Dyke spoke : — 

'" ' Cowards die many times before their 
deaths ; 
The valiant never taste of death but 
once.* " 

He stopped again and shuddered a trifle ; 

Digitized b/G« 

his head drooped and he repeated, barely 
above a whisper :— 

11 ' The valiant never taste of death but 
once. 1 " 

The door opened noiselessly* It was but 
three minutes to eight. There was a moment 
of dead silence; Dyke lifted his head and 
caught sight of the grim figure at the open 
door. With a quick intake of his breath, he 
started half out of his seat and stared, fas- 
cinated ; he sank back slowly, turned his 
head to gaze first at Father Daly and then at 
the Governor. The Governor averted his 
eyes r but Father Daly's expression was of 
supreme pity and encouragement. In- 
voluntarily, Dyke's hand again went creeping 
upward toward his throat, but he arrested it. 
He grasped the arms of his chair and braced 
himself. Then, rising, he stood very erect, 
in almost the position of a soldier at attention, 

"All right, let's go," he said, his voice 
lowand S t^ ina|from 



CM & t:*-' 

tf m sa 



MR. THRELFALL, of the firm of 
Smiles, Threlfall, and Threlfall, 
solicitors, of Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
was returning from a week-end in 
Hampshire with a celibate aunt. 

The holiday had not been altogether a 
success, for the weather had been bad, the 
old lady s temper uncertain, and Mr, Threlfall 
had had the misfortune to sit on Roger, the 
cat : so that, on the whole, .Mr, Threlfall 
reflected, so far as recreation went, he might 
just as well have stayed it home. 

He was now alone in a first-class railway 
carriage, absorbed in the Times, when, just 
as the train was leaving East Croydon, the 
door was flung violently open and an indi- 
vidual clambered in — an individual whom 
Mr. Threlfall still tells his friends about and 
whom he will probably never forget to his 
dying day. 

The stranger was a ruddy, middle -si zed 
man wearing a tall white hat. This does not 
sound unorthodox, but literally no one ever 
does wear a tall white hat except a Paris 
cabman, and this was snow-white with a 
^reen band. The new-comer's clothes would 
have offended the sense of propriety of a 
music-hall knockabout comedian, consisting 
as they did of baggy grey tweeds with a 
white spot pattern like dominoes, with 
trousers pretem at u rally wide in the flank 
and tight at the ankle, terminating in black 
spats and white tennis shoes. He wore a 
pink collar, a huge flowing pink tie, and a 
yellow rose in his button-hole. An oblong 
tortoises hell- framed eyeglass was wedged 
into his right eye and secured by a green 
silk ribbon an anch wide. But all these 

by Google 

sartorial details mafic less impression on 
Mr. Threlfall than his fellow -passenger's 
taste in whiskers, for although a compara- 
tively young man — probably not more than 
thirty — he sported a curiously-trimmed chin- 
beard, bright tawny in colour and made more 
incongruous by an absurd inch and half wide 
" tooth-brush tuft " on his upper lip. His 
blond hair was brushed forward in the 
familiar mode of i860 or the u bobbed " style 
of certain young ladies of to-day, 

" Fine morning ! " volunteered the stranger, 
cheerily, disposing his feet on the opposite 
cushions and proceeding to mop his brow 
with a capacious apple-green handkerchief. 

Mr, Threlfall was too startled to speak. 
Was this fellow who thus dared to invade 
his privacy, the privacy of a first -class com- 
partment, a professional clown, an itinerant 
mummer, or an escaped lunatic ? Mr. Threl- 
fall seemed to remember dimly some such 
apparition as this in a disreputable vaude- 
ville show of his youth — or was it on the 
sands at Margate ? But the whiskers — 
these were tangibly, palpably, lamentably, 
startingly real, and the whole ienue t although 
revolting, was new, clean, and costly. The 
lunatic (for, of course, he must be a lunatic) 
momentarily turned his attention to the 
parcel of newspapers he had previously 
thrown down on the seat at his side, and 
Mr. Threlfall, while pretending to be absorbed 
in his Ttnws, glanced furtively at their titles. 
He made out the Beekeeper's Journal, the 
Economist, the Auctioneer's Record, and the 
Taxidermist. There were also three or four 
small bound books which Mr + Threlfall at 
first took for popular novels, but which 
Original from 

Edgar Milne 


' turned out to be ' How to Speak Russian in 
Three Months," *' The Amateur Joiner," and 
the " Elements of Biology." Observing 
Mr. ThrelfalTs interest, the stranger suddenly 
remarked : — 

" Well, old man, do you like my get-up ? " 

" H'm ! — a little eccentric," murmured Mr. 

" It's a free country, ain't it ? " asked his 
companion, sharply. 

" Quite," agreed Mr. Threlfall. 

" I'm a free man, ain't I ? " 

" I suppose so," assented Mr. Threlfall. 

" You bet I am, old man." 

Mr. Threlfall resented being addressed so 
familiarly by a perfect stranger, but in 
dealing with a lunatic from whom there is 
no immediate escape it is necessary to be 
tactful, so he smiled weakly. 

" I can dress as I like, eat what I like, say 
what I like, and do what I like. I'm not a 
slave any more. I'm a man I " 

Mr. Threlfall would have liked to have 
corrected this term to maniac, but he only 
murmured, " Quite so." 

" You bet your life ! My name's Slode — 
James P. Slode of Blue Wing, Manitoba. 
You don't happen to have been an officer, 
do you ? " 

Mr. Threlfall shook his head. 

" I remember an R.T.O. at Bertincourt 
that looked as like you as two peas. Were 
you in the war at all ? " 

Mr. Threlfall flushed slightly. 

" I — I wasn't accepted for active service 
— abroad. I did my bit at home. In the 
Milk Control Office — and elsewhere." 

" Say no more, old man. I served four 
years and a quarter — at the front. I'm free 
now. I went home, found my section 
turned into a Government chemical works, 
and Blue Wing grown into a small town. I 
sold my real estate for eighty-five thousand 
dollars, cash, and took the next express train 
east. They wanted to keep me there a spell ; 
but I told them I was a free man and so I am, 
by gum! I'm going to do what I like. No 
more orders and regulations for me. No 
more verbotens and defendus, neither." 

Slode produced a cigar-box from his ca- 
pacious coat-pocket, removed a rubber band, 
and opening the lid disclosed several dozen 
large cigars with green and gold bands. He 
offered the box to Mr. Threlfall and, upon 
that gentleman politely declining, he selected 
a couple himself, closed the box, and returned 
it to his pocket. 

"- I tell you, old man, it's a great thing to 
do anything you like, to be absolutely in- 
dependent; Simplv great t " 
* How ? " asked Mr. Threlfall. 

" Well — no rules. No ruddy conventions. 
Do as you damn well please." 

As he spoke, Slode ignited a vesuvian, 

which exploded so loudly that Mr. Threlfall 
involuntarily jumped ; and lit a cigar which 
he puffed for a few seconds ruminatively. 
Then, when he had ascertained it was burning 
well, he removed it, lit the second cigar, 
adjusted the pair in opposite corners of his 
mouth, and calmly resumed his puffing. 
You would have thought that with his 
handicap articulation would have been 
difficult ; but Slode managed it. 

" Ever seen anyone do this before ? " 

" Never," asseverated Mr. Threlfall. " Why 
do you do it ? " 

" Because I can afford it," replied Slode. 
" Any fool can smoke one cigar at a time. 
Hallo, what's that ? " 

" What is what ? " inquired Mr. Threlfall, 
following. his companion's eye. There was a 
framed and glazed notice on the wall of the 
compartment. It read : — 

To Stop the Train 

Pull This Cord. 

Penalty for Improper Use, £5. 

As Slode's gaze rested on this announce- 
ment his cigar-laden countenance became 
still further contorted. He became so much 
amused at last that he removed the cigars 
and laid them carefully in the ash-tray by 
the window-sill and chuckled loudly. He 
passed his apple-green handkerchief over his 

" I could stop this blessed train, if I 

'■ You'd better not," ejaculated Mr. Threl- 

-Why not?" asked Slode. And then, 
before the other could interfere, he rose, 
reached up quickly, seized the suspended 
cord, and pulled it vigorously. 

" Good heavens, man ! " cried Mr. Threlfall, 
in horror, " what have you done ? " 

Instantly both felt the sensation of brakes 
applied, of violently interrupted movement; 
the cacophonous grinding of metal, and the 
train came to a standstill in the midst of open 
country. Scores of heads were thrust from 
carriage windows, passengers began to alight, 
and a couple of guards were observed running 
along the footboard, glaring into the carriages 
and shouting at intervals. 

" Who pulled the cord ? Who's stopped 
the train ? " 

At last a train official was heard approach- 
ing very close to Slode's compartment. 
Slode, who was standing by the window, put 
his hand smilingly into his breast-pocket, 
took out a thick roll of notes, selected one, 
and returned the remainder. 

by t^ 



u I I I '_' I I I 



An Individualist from Blue Wing 

" Are you the guard of this train ? " he 

*' Yes, sir." The poor man was breathless 
with his sudden exertions. 

44 Is there much excitement ? " 

41 What do you think ? Train stopped 
dead three mile short of Hale Junction. 
Someone pulled the cord. First time such 
a thing's happened in twenty years, to my 

Slode fairly beamed. 

44 Splendid," he murmured, " really first 
rate. Well worth it. Every darn window 
full o' heads. Wind up and no mistake. 
Well, here you are, guard ! " 

Slode leaned from the window, extending 
a five-pound note. 

44 Take it, my lad. It's worth it. I don't 
grudge the money." 

The guard took the note, recognized its 
denomination, and stared blankly. 

44 What's this f or ? " he demanded. 

44 Why, " penalty for improper use, ^5.' 
It's all right — good money." 

The guard exploded. " Did you pull that 
cord ? " 

" Yes. I certainly did. You needn't 
bother about a receipt. I just wanted to see 
if the machinery worked all right." 

The assistant guard was now alongside. 

" Says he pulled the cord," explained 
No. 1 ; " look here, mister, this five-pound 
note ain't no good to me. I'll just trouble 
you for vour name and address." Then to 
No. 2 he~ said, " Let's get on, Bill. You'll 
pay for this," he resumed hotly to Slode. 
41 You'll jolly well pay for this." 

" Ain't I offering to pay ? I'm giving you 
good money." 

" What the deuce d'ye mean by stopping 
the train ? " 

" I didn't stop the train. You— or p'r'aps 
the engineer — stopped the train. Vm paying 
the statutory amount, ain't I ? You did it 
well and I'm quite pleased with you, my 

The train was now on the point of re- 
suming its journey, the guard clinging to the 

4< You look to me like a ruddy circus 
freak. You must be insane ! " 

" Come inside and have a chat," suggested 
Slode, affably. 

• 4 You'll hear from me at Waterloo." 

" Ain't that what Wellington said to 
Napoleon ? " 

MR. THRELFALL, who had during this 
colloquy been sitting in the far corner 
of the compartment, trembling lest he 
should be implicated in this disgraceful epi- 
sode, saw with relief the official disappear. 
Slode broke into unrestrained laughter. 
" Mv — now that is what I call a real 

Digiiiz&d by \ji 

pleasant interlude ! " he exclaimed. 
14 Thoroughly enjoyable. Far better than a 
front seat at a prize-fight at twice the 

** You have singular ideas of humour ! " 

" Right, every time, old man ! I recognize 
the kind of entertainment I want and go 
straight for it. I hadn't been, an hour at 
Southampton when I crossed the railway track, 
finding I was on the wrong platform. The 
porter stopped me: * How much ? ' I asked. 
4 Forty shillings,' he said. I counted out the 
money and crossed the track. I was just 
stepping up on the platform when another 
porter stopped me. ' You can't come this 
way. Go round aind take the subway.' 
' 4 How much to cross the track again ? ' 
'He said there was no charge, so I crossed 
deliberately in the presence of about a 
million people, so it only cost twenty shillings 
a trip." ■'•■■." 

" If you're not careful you'll find yourself 
in jail or the lunatic asylum," observed Mr. 
Threlfall, "fretfully. 

" Not while my money holds out," retorted 
Slode, confidently; 4 people make allowances 
for a sportsman who can afford to back his 
fancy. I'm just wofidering how much of 
that five pounds will find its way into the 
pockets of the railroad company ? " 

Slode 's wonder was perhaps not unjustified, 
for the train eventually steamed into 
Waterloo and Slode alighted and boisterously 
hailed a porter, unabashed and unimpeded. 
As for Mr. Threlfall, with his heart in his 
mouth, he hurried away, with Slode 's vale- 
dictory " So long, old man ! Hope to see 
you again," sounding diminuendo in his 

11 A confounded lunatic," he muttered to 
himself. 4 ' The fellow's upset me for the day. 
Heavens, what an experience ! " 

Slode, collecting his luggage, a large 
Saratoga trunk painted a bright pink, with 
44 J. P. Slode " in bold black letters on its 
front, got into a taxi, tipped the porter half 
a crown and a cigar, and drove to the Oxford 
Palace Hotel. His arrival naturally created 
a sensation ; but he managed to settle with 
the driver without too great a congestion of 
the traffic, enter the portals, and make his 
way to the desk. Instantly the transaction 
of affairs was arrested at the sight of this 
highly eccentric individual who seemed to 
have mistaken the public entrance of the 
Oxford Palace Hotel for the stage-door of the 

Slode stuck his glass into his right eye and 
stroked his egregious beard. 

44 I wired for a first-class room from 
Southampton," he explained to the clerk. 
The clerk took a single look at him, a look 
which embraced the staring white hat, with 
its green band, the pink collar, the beard. 


Edgar Milne 


y The guard exploded, ( Did you pull that cord,? * * Yes ; 1 just wanted to see if the 

machinery worked all right.* " 

by Google 

Original from 


An Individualist from Blue Wing 

and the domino-spotted tweeds, and accom- 
plished an involuntary ingurgitation of 

" What name ? " he asked. 

Slode told him. The clerk excused him- 
self, and the next moment reappeared with 
the manager. The latter grasped the situa- 
tion on the spot and wasted no time in 
deprecatory language. 

" Sorry," he said, absolutely full up ! " 

" Full up ? M echoed Slode. ' Look here, 
mister — understand me — expense is no object. 
I'll pay ten pounds in advance. I " 

" ' Stand aside, please. These other gentle- 
men are waiting. Sorrv we can't oblige you. 
Good day ! " 

Slode's sublime self-confidence, although 
he felt himself thus summarily elbowed aside, 
did not desert him. 

" Right you are, old man ! But I guess 
there are others. You're losing mofe'n 
/ am." And raising his preposterous white 
topper in the direction of the startled group 
by the reception desk, he retraced his foot- 
steps to the door. The hall-porter, pocketing 
a generous tip, gave him the name of another 
hotel, and summoned another taxi for him. 
Slode hied himself there ; but alas ! his 
reception at the Royal Charles was like his 
reception at the Oxford Palace, and — to cut 
a long story short — the brisk and ridiculous 
individualist from Blue Wing, Manitoba, who 
wanted to do what he liked, went from 
caravanserai to caravanserai for several hours 
with no more success than that of the camel 
who sought to pass through the eye of a 
needle or the rich man who tried to get into 
heaven, all because he was not garbed in the 
conventional raiment which a tyrannical 
fashion prescribed for male members of the 
human species who seek hospitality west of 
Aldgate Pump. He had, however, left his 
pink Saratoga with the hall-porter of the 
Oxford Palace to be called for ; and he 
eventually contrived to procure an apology 
for a meal at the Charing Cross Railway 
Buffet. But at nine o'clock that evening it 
was rather a weary and dispirited Slode who 
broke away from his ribald pursuers in 
Villiers Street, turned sharply to the left, 
and, in the gathering dusk, entered the 
Embankment gardens. He told himself he 
had had a great day and cocked his hat 
with renewed bravado. He admitted that 
liis refusal at the hotels was a check, but only 
a temporary one, and a man who has slept 
for four years in barns, cellars, and dug-outs 
can make light of a little thing like that. It 
showed the force of prejudice and convention 
in this silly old country. They wanted to 
crush out a man's individuality : all he had 
to do was to wear a mackintosh and a golf 
cap and they'd take him in fast enough. 
But he wouldn't give in to them ! They 

by Google 

were not going to dictate to him, James P. 
Slode, what sort of clothes he was going to 
wear or how his whiskers should be trimmed 
— not by a long chalk ! No, sir-^ / "I'm 
not going to give in, and become a ruddy 
slave again ! I can do as I like now, because 
I've got the money to pay for it." 

IT was, he told himself, as he mechanically 
took a seat upon a bench, different when 
he was Private J. P. Slode, No. A. D. 1952, 
C.E.F. Then he had to do as he was told ; 
and what a dog's life he had led ! Cowering 
under the glance of every paltry little pip- 
squeak, just because he called himself an 
officer, bullied by the sergeant-major, hauled 
over the coals if there was a button undone 
or the string of his puttees untied — Gad, 
what a life ! 

He had sworn then he'd be a free man 
some day, free to do just what he pleased and 
not care a hang — not if he was reclining on a 
feather bed in the middle of a barrack square, 
with a jug of beer in each hand and Field- 
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig came barging 
along ! And now he was free — he didn't 
give a hang for anybody's opinion, and tor 
two cents he'd curl up and go to sleep on this 
very bench, yes, this very 

He turned. Up to now he had almost 
been unaware that he was not the only 
occupant of the bench. There was another, 
a girl, plainly but neatly clad. A pretty 
girl, too, though rather pale ; she was reading 
a letter and seemed so engrossed in it that 
she paid no more attention to Slode than he 
had paid to her. Yet a single glance at her 
profile somehow transfixed Slode, instantly 
arresting all his fugitive fancies. 

Where had he seen that profile before ? 
Was it not — could it be ? Even before she 
had turned and confronted him, a wave ot 
emotion had passed through Slode, and his 
growing mood of languor became exchanged 
for a lively eagerness. He jumped up from 
the bench, with outstretched palm, ejacu- 
lating : — 

Snakes alive ! it's Elise — Elise Lebrun 
of Hersin-Coupigny ! Don't you remember 
me, ma'm'selle ? " 

The girl, still seated, surveyed the fantastic 
figure before her in mingled astonishment 
and alarm. 

4 No, m'sieu, I am sure I have nevane 
seen you before ! " 

Slode recollected himself and laughed 

" No, of course — of course, you wouldn't 
recognize me. But you are Ma'm'selle Elise, 
are you not ? Don't you remember Jim — 
Jim Slode, the Canadian soldier — 10th bat- 
talion — Jim of Blue Wing — who was sick — 
billeted at your house at Hersin-Coupigny 
during the War ? Have you forgotten, you 

Original from 


Edgar Milne 


— you gave me this — a keepsake — just before 
the last push in August, '18 ? " 

And Slode pulled out of his waistcoat- 
pocket an ingeniously chased pencil-case, 
fashioned out of an empty cartridge, with a 
silver top and an inscription in silver 
filagree : — 

" E. le B. h Jim. En souvenir, 1915-18." 

On his companion's features, now no longer 
pale, laughter and perplexity struggled for 
mastery, as she gazed alternately from the 
modest little trinket to Slode. Suddenly a 
light seemed to break in upon her, and with 
merry vivacity she took Slode's extended 

•' Forgive me, M'sieu Jim. I am so stupid 
and your disguise — oh, it is so clevaire ! 
You also — you go to the ball — and I nevaire 
guess. Your costume, it is superb — 
epatant ! " 

She withdrew a step in which to survey 
him more completely— from the snow-white 
hat to the shoes, now alas ! not so white : the 
originality, audacity, and arresting salience of 
what in her native tongue is called the tout 
ensemble — and then no longer could she 
restrain her mirth. The longer she looked at 
Slode the more she laughed. 

" To think that you are M'sieu Jim — le 
brav* soldat, Jim Slode, that my mother and 
my little brothers are so fond at Hersin- 
Coupigny ! Oh, but you are funny — but 
funny I You will take the great prize. You 
will have an succesfou at the ball." 

Slode stroked his ridiculous beard thought- 
fully, and Elise shrieked with laughter. 

" Look here, Elise," he said, *' what ball ? " 

41 Why, the ball you attend to-night. 
Many gentlemen at the hotel also go. It is 
at Co vent Garden, is it not ? " 

They had left the bench and were walking 
now side by side. 

" Ma'm'selle Elise," resumed Slode, after 
a pause, " what are you doing in London ? " 

" Oh, I came over six months ago. I have 
a very good situation. It is in a big hotel, 
where the housekeeper is French and a great 
friend of my mother. See, the letter I have 
is from my mother ; it tells me all the news 
from poor Hersin-Coupigny and Lens and 
Bethune. Some of it is very sad. I am so 
sorry for the poor people. But I am very 
happy in my place in the bureau where I 
assist in the accounts and write many letters 
in French for the manager." 

Slode pondered. 

" Look here, ma'm'selle, about that ball 
this evening — how would you like to come 
with me ? I am alone, you see." 

She turned and regarded him with her 
large grey eyes opened their widest. 

" But, Jim ! " she cried, " how is it possible ? 
[ have no costume de bal. I have not even a 

by V_ 



proper dress. Et puis, alors, I must ask 
Madame 's permission. If 1 were not back 
at twelve o'clock, what would she think ? " 

•• Don't you be a slave, Elise ! What does 
it matter what she thinks ? Ain't I an old 
friend of your mother's ? I'll look after you. 
You're not afraid of me, Elise ? " 

•• No-o, But " 

He seized her hand and drew it through 
his arm. An empty taxi was passing ; he 
hailed it. A strange feeling was creeping 
over him, a feeling he did not stop to analyse, 
the feeling of a swimmer who has been 
battling overmuch with the breakers and 
who finds his feet at last touching a sandy 
bottom, the feeling of an amateur actor who 
after his first ordeal before a hostile audience, 
sees the grateful curtain descending. At 
last he had struck a friend, reviving sweet 
and gentle memories, the only sweet and 
gentle memories which had found a lodgment 
in Slode's bosom for six years or so. In 
spite of all his bounce and bluff Slode began 
to wonder if he had not, after all, been a bit 
'•off his chump" lately! What if this 
charming girl at his side knew the truth ? 
What would she think of him ? Wouldn't 
she run away and leave him as if he were 
really a ruddy lunatic ? 

Well, anyhow, she had given him the 
means of escape which otherwise his pride 
would have scorned. He must keep up the 

M Driver, where can a lady buy, hire, 
or steal a fancy dress at this hour of the 
evening ? " 

The taxi-man grinned. 

" Reckon Claxton's would be open, sir. 
Open till ten or eleven when there's a Covent 
Garden ball on. Shall I drive there, sir ? " 

44 As quick as you know how, my lad," 
returned Slode, assisting Elise into the 

" If only we could get even a domino," 
murmured the girl, ecstatically, " it would 
do. I have always longed to see a great bed 
masqui in your beautiful Jardin de Couvent ! " 

SLODE had brought off his coup, but still he 
wasn't wholly happy. Something seemed 
to have affected his mentality. In spite 
of the triumphant success of his own get-up 
(an exquisite Charles I. had slapped him 
exuberantly on the back and assured him 
that he was an " absolute peach "), notwith- 
standing Elise's radiant joy and her own 
dainty prettiness as a red, white, and blue 
vivandilre, something seemed to have snapped 
inside Slode. His recent self-confidence was 
replaced by a strange diffidence. When 
Elise insisted on his mingling with the other 
dancers he did so to please her, and immedi- 
ately afterwards showed a preference for 
quiet comers behind screens or palms where 



An Individualist from Blue Wing 

he could take her little hand in his and make 
her talk to him about old times at Hersin- 
Coupigny, where he had taught her English 
or halma, and she had played a wheezy piano 
" pinched " from a ruined mansion in Arras 
or mended his and his comrade's socks and 

A FTER a champagne supper (where Elise, 
J-\ timidly sipping the wine, pronounced 
it not nearly as sweet as the cham- 
pagne renotnmi to which Jim had once treated 
her at the Coq d'Or, in her native village) 
Slode's spirits greatly improved ; but he still 
shrank from the gaze of the crowd. 

" Don't mind me, little girl. I II sit here 
and you go and fox-trot with Uncle Sam or 
Richelieu. Don't mind me, I just like 
watching you. To me, you're just the 
sweetest thing that ever happened. No 
other girl here is a patch on you." 

Elise's sheer joy radiated. 

" Oh, Jim, I have nevaire been so happy ! 
I could almost cry when you say the othaire 
girt is not "one patch.' That is how you 
speak to me five years ago when we prome- 
nade together in the Grand Place of Hersin- 
Coupigny and shop in the march 6." 

" I meant it then, too I " declared Slode, 
and the next moment he had surrendered his 
little vivandiere to the arm of Dick W hitting- 
ton and stood watching the couple thread their 
saltatory way through the maze of dancers. 

As he stood there he was made perpetually 
aware that he attracted attention. Such 
phrases reached his ear, as ; — 

" Good Lord, dear, look." 

'Did vou ever! What's he supposed to 
be ?— the - Mad Hatter ? " 

He frequently rubbed his forehead with 
his finger-tips, as if suffering from headache 
or fevetishness, Sometimes his restless eye 
fastened itself upon his giant-spotted trousers 
strapped down to his white tennis shoes, with 
the black spats, and at such times you would 
have sworn it was a look of disgust which 
crept over his features. It was as though he 

were being awakened from a dream and were 
trying to realize what had happened to him. 
He regarded the Paris cabman's hat in his 
hand as if it were an unclean thing which he 
would like to pitch across the great ball- 
room. He ran his fingers through his tawny 
beard and visibly shuddered. The thought 
occurred to him, "I expect if I p d been a 
different sort I might after what I've been 
through have taken to drink, But I took to 
clothes instead and got drunk on 'em. I've 
been on a tremendous bust and I guess I'm 
just sobering up/' 

He gazed down at his habiliments rue- 
fully. But Elise returned and he brightened 
up at once. He fetched her an ice, and then 
another, A quarter of an hour passed, and 
then a slim young gentleman in correct 


** No longer could she restrain her mirth, The 


Edgar Milne 


evening raiment approached the pair where 
they sat and made a bow. 

" Excuse me/' he said, deferentially, ' but 
are you ' A*D b 1952 J ? u 

Slode was on his feet like an electrically- 
worked automaton, just ns in the old days, 
eyes front, chest out, fingers touching the 
seam of his trousers, and only pulled himself 
up in time before giving the regulation 
salute of the private in the ranks when 
accosted by an officer* 

* Ye-es, sir/' he stammered, *' How did 




The slim young man laughed pleasantly. 

" I thought you would like to know that 
I have just seen the winning list and you are 
awarded Gentlemen's First Prize/' 

'" Wha-a-at ! " ejaculated Slode. Eiise 
clapped her hands joyfully. 

" There, Jim, what did I tell you ! Now 
you can be happy. You need not be anxious 
any more. You have done it. It is splendid 
— splendid ! " 

Slode collapsed into his seat and closed 
his eyes, while the young man went on 

" 1 represent the Morning G leaner and 
would take it as a great favour If you would 
tell me how you happened to think of this 
particular costume. Of course, you have 
made a great hit. I see from the judge's 
list that you call it ' Anno Domini 1952/ ' 

Slode roused himself. 

k ' But I don't call it ' Anno Dom * ' J A 

light dawned upon him. " Good Lord, 
Elise ! I see What's happened. When I came 
in they asked me to give 'em my name — and 
—and I wrote it down for 'em and must have 
added my regimental number — A,D. (Army 
Details, you know) one nine five two. This 
beats anything I ever heard of. If I stay 
here much longer, I'll " 

Ad elderly gentleman, wearing a crimson 
rosette, advanced, for whom the crowd of 
dancers made way. Behind him came a 
couple of waiters laden with various objects 
which attracted much attention, 

" Allow me— Mr, Siode, I think ? ' A.D, 
195*/ Gentleman's costume, I am happy 
to inform you that the judges have awarded 
you first prize, a fitted dressing-case, value 
£50, Pray accept this with our congratula- 
tions. May I at the same time express the 
hope " (the gentleman was just a trifle 
pompous) ' that — er— your prognostication 

longer the looked at Slode the more she laughed. 


An Individualist from Blue Wing 

of the dress of our — er — immediate pos- 
terity must not — ha, ha ! — be accepted too 

Slode and Mile. Lebrun stood up. It was 
Elise who took the beautiful dressing-case. 
Then there ensued a blinding flash, the 
shutters of half-a-dozen cameras went snap, 
followed by universal peals of merriment. 

The Master of Ceremonies, still smiling at 
his jest, and the waiters passed on. 

• # ARE you feeling better now, Jim ? " 
J-\ Slode nodded. He looked at his 
watch — an ancient gold turnip — and 
saw that it was nearly two o'clock. 
" Do you mind if we go now, Elise ? " 
" Oh, no, Jim ! It is terribly late. I hope 
Madame will never find out. My domino 
will cover everything. You can put my 
street dress in here." Elise roguishly held 
up the beautiful dressing-case. 

M | | AVE you far to go, Elise ? What is 

£"" J the name of your hotel ? " 

" Ma fox, Jim, have I not told 
you ? It is the Oxford Palace." 

" The Oxford Palace I " 

" Yes. Why are you so surprised ? What 
is your hotel, Jim ? " 

" Mine ? " returned Slode, grimly. M Oh, 
mine's a mighty long way off. Ever hear of 
it— the Hotel de Bivouac ? " 

" Nevaire. But why do you not take a 
room for the night at the Oxford Palace ? 
It is so late and you could move to-morrow, 
if you liked. I can arrange it for you with 
Martin, the night-porter. He is a great 
friend of mine." 

The taxi duly drew up in front of the 

entrance of the hotel where not so many 
hours before had been witnessed Slode 's 
rebuff. The door was closed, but Elise 
pressed the bell and it swung open, 
revealing the muscular, rubicund, efficient 
person of Martin, the Swiss night-porter. 

" Bon soir, M. Martin/' observed Mile. 
Lebrun, affably. 

" Ah, c'est vous, mademoiselle I " ex- 
claimed the surprised Martin, surprised and 
pleased, for was not mademoiselle a general 
favourite in the famous caravanserai ? 

" Monsieur Martin, let me introduce to you 
my fianci. We have just returned from the 
ball at Co vent Garden." 

" Enchante, monsieur. 99 Mr. Martin grinned 
and bowed. 

11 I think there is a room vacant, is there 
not, M. Martin ? " 

" Yes, mademoiselle. One -twenty-eight." 

As she spoke Elise removed her belongings 
from the dressing-case. 

" Very good. Show Mr. Slode into it. 
Good night, Jim, dear. Thank you so much 
for a very pleasant evening." 

The big porter's back was turned. Slode 
again seized his opportunity. He caught 
Elise in his arms and kissed her. 

M Good night, little girl," he said, tenderly. 
While closing the receptacle his eye fell 
eagerly upon the contents ranged within, 
the various implements in their neat morocco 
leather sheaths. •• Good - night, and 1 pro- 
mise you I — I'll be my old self to-morrow." 

He watched her bound lightly up the 
broad staircase. 

"Thank God, she'll never know!" he 
muttered softly to himself. * A.D. 1921's 
good enough for me, now ! " 


(The Second of the Series.) 
This is the old-time season of Noel ; 
That brings you cheer from those who wish you well. 

1. A calling this, high-sounding, but plebeian. 

2. An epithet of darkness Tartarean. 

3. Mere blue or grey, or colour red as roses. 

4. Cut out — a custom that our state imposes. 

5. The verdant green, making the Wild West smile. 

6. Write down in Latin and curtail meanwhile. 

7. A realm that, in its centre, owns the king. 

8. No end to this, unless it be a sting. EDI. 

Answers to Acrostic No. 102 should be addressed to the 
Acrostic Editor, The Strand Magazine, Southampton 
Street, Strand, London, W.C.2, and must arrive not later 
than by the first post on January 10th. 

To every light one alternative answer may . be sent ; it 
should be written at the side. At the foot of his answer every 
solver should write his pseudonym and nothing else. 

Solvers and readers, one and two 
This Christ mast ide we wish to you. 
L His ship with this the sailor guides. 
2. Sensation Scottish loch provides. 

by Google 

3. Who picked a peck ? First name is here ; 

4. Now let his second name appear. 

5. A British tribe when Rome held sway. 

6. A character in Shakespeare's play. 

7. River in France must lose its head ; 

8. And here its tail must go instead. 

9. Your daughter's brother and his net 
In fourteen lines of verse are met. 


1. H el M 

2. A w E 

3. P ete R 

4. P ipe R 

5. I oen I 

6. N y M 

7. E in E 

8. S ei N 

9. S onne T 

Notes.— Lights 3, 4. Peter Piper picked a peok of 
pickled pepper. 6. Henry V. 7, 8. Seine. 

In No. 99 " Galahalt " (a knight of the Round Table) is 
accepted for the first light. The third light was inaccurate : 
Arthur was grandson, not son, of a king. The A.E. much 
regrets the error, and thinks that all answers to this light 
must be accepted. 

Original from 



' \ 










4 'V 


The Gaiety Star 

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Original from 





[See page lQ ^ mmRS \j Y Q^ mCH\GkH 




2, £ 




pOMEWHERE in the 
^^^ vaults of the bank of 
I^^J Cox and Co., at Charing 

Cross, there is a travel -worn and bat- 
tered tin despatch- box with my name, John H. 
Watson, M.D., Late Indian Army, painted 
upon the lid. It is crammed with papers, 
nearly all of which are records of cases to 
illustrate the curious problems which Mr. 
Sherlock Holmes had at various times to 
examine. Some, and not the least interest- 
in g h were complete failures, and as such will 
hardly bear narrating, since no, final 
explanation is forthcoming, A 
{ ^W problem without a solution 

jm ^^ ^V may interest the student, 

but can hardly fail to 
annoy the casual 
n^ reader. Among 

g: , these un- 



Vd. kiii.-7. 

tales is that of Mr, James 
Phillimore, who, stepping 
back into his own house 
to get his umbrella, was never more seen in 
this world. No less remarkable is that of 
the cutter Alicia, which sailed one spring 
morning into a small patch of . mist from 
which she never again emerged, nor was 
anything further ever heard of herself and 
her crew, A third case worthy of note is 
that of Isadora Persano, the well-known 
journalist and duellist, who was found stark 
staring mad with a matchbox in front of him 
which contained a remarkable worm, said to 
be unknown to science. Apart from these 
un fathomed cases, there are some which 
invoi 1 ^ the secrets of private families to an 
extent which would mean consternation in 
many exalted quarters if it were thought 
possible that they might find their way into 
print ■ I need not say that such a breach of 
confidence is unthinkable, and that these 
records will be separated and destroyed now 
that my friend has time to turn his 
energies to the matter; There remain 
a considerable residue of cases of 
greater or less interest which 
I might have edited before 
had I not feared to 
give the public a 
surfeit which 
might react 

cwrin... .,», b, a. co-yflftflfciTYOF MICHIGAN 


The Problem of Thor Bridge 

the reputation of the man whom above all 
others I revere. In some I was myself con- 
cerned and can speak as an eye-witness, 
while in others I was either not present or 
played so small a part that they could only 
be told as by a third person. The following 
narrative is drawn from my own experience. 

It was a wild morning in October, and I 
observed as I was dressing how the last 
remaining leaves were being whirled from 
the solitary plane tree which graces the yard 
behind our house. I descended to breakfast 
prepared to find my companion in depressed 
spirits, for, like all great artists, he was easily 
impressed by his surroundings. On the 
contrary, I found that he had nearly finished 
his meal, and that his mood was particularly 
bright and joyous, with that somewhat 
sinister cheerfulness which was characteristic 
of his lighter moments. 

" You have a case, Holmes ? " I remarked. 

" The faculty of deduction is certainly 
contagious, Watson," he answered. ".It 
has enabled you to probe my secret. Yes, I 
have a case. After a month of trivialities 
and stagnation the wheels move once more." 

" Might I share it ? " 

" There is little to share, but we may 
discuss it when you have consumed .the two 
hard-boiled eggs with which our new cook 
has favoured us. Their condition may not 
be unconnected with the copy of the 
Family Herald which I observed yester- 
day upon the hall -table. Even so trivial a 
matter as cooking an egg demands an at- 
tention which is conscious of the passage of 
time, and incompatible with the love romance 
in that excellent periodical." 

A QUARTER of an hour later the table 
had been cleared and we were face 
to face. He had drawn a letter from 
his pocket. 

" You have heard of Neil Gibson, the Gold 
King ? " he said. 

" You mean the American Senator? " 

" Well, he was once Senator for some 
Western State, but is better known as the 
greatest gold-mining magnate in the world." 

" Yes, I know of him. He has surely lived 
in England for some time. His name is very 

" Yes ; he bought a considerable estate in 
Hampshire some five years ago. Possibly 
vou have already heard of the tragic end of 
his wife ? " 

" Of course. I remember it now. That 
is why the name is familiar. But I really 
know nothing of the details." 

Holmes waved his hand towards some 
papers on a chair. " I had no idea that the 
case was coming my way or I should have 
had my extracts ready," said he. " The 
fact is that the problem, though exceedingly 

L o 

sensational, appeared to present no difficulty. 
The interesting personality of the accused 
does not obscure the clearness of the 
evidence. That was the view taken by the 
coroner's jury and also in the police-court 
proceedings. It is now referred to the 
Assizes at Winchester. I fear it is a thankless 
business. I can discover facts, Watson, but 
I cannot change them. Unless some entirely 
new and unexpected ones come to light I do 
not see what my client can hope for." 

" Your client ? " 

" Ah, I forgot I had not told you. I am 
getting into your involved habit, Watson, of 
telling a story backwards. You had best 
read this first." 

The letter which he handed to me, written 
in a bold, masterful hand, ran as follows : — 

Claridge's Hotel, 

October yd. 
Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes, — 

I can't see the best woman God 
ever made go to her death without doing 
all that is possible to save her. I can't 
explain things — I can't even try to explain 
them, but I know beyond all doubt that 
Miss Dunbar is innocent. You know the 
facts — who doesn't ? It has been the 
gossip of the country. And never a voice 
raised for her ! It's the damned injustice 
of it all that makes me crazy. That woman 
has a heart that wouldn't let her kill 
a fly. Well, I'll come at eleven to-morrow 
and see if you can get some ray of light in 
the dark. Maybe I have a clue and don't 
know it. Anyhow, all I know and all I 
have and all I am are for your use if only 
you can save her. If ever in your life you 
showed your powers, put them now into 
this case. 

Yours faithfully, 

J. Neil Gibson. 

" There you have it," said Sherlock Holmes, 
knocking out the ashes of his after- breakfast 
pipe and slowly refilling it. " That is the 
gentleman I await. As to the story, you 
have hardly time to master all these papers, 
so I must give it to you in a nutshell if you 
are to take an intelligent interest in the 
proceedings. This man is the greatest 
financial power in the world, and a man. as I 
understand, of most violent and formidable 
character. He married a wife, the victim of 
this tragedy, of whom I know nothing save 
that she was past her prime, which was the 
more unfortunate as a very attractive 
governess superintended the education of 
two young children. These are the three 
people concerned and the scene is a grand 
old manor house, the centre of an historical 
English estate. Then as to the tragedy. 
The wife was found in the grounds nearly 
half a mile from the; hou^e, late at night, clad 


A. Conan Doyle 


in her dinner dress, with a shawl over her 
shoulders and a revolver bullet through her 
brain. No weapon was found near her and 
there was no local clue as to the murder. 
No weapon near her, Watson — mark that ! 
The crime seems to have been committed 
late in the evening, and the body was found 
by a gamekeeper about eleven o'clock, when 
it was examined by the police and by a 
doctor before being carried up to the house. 
Is this too condensed, or can you follow it 
clearly ? p 

' It is all very clear. But why suspect 
the governess ? " 

' Well, in the first place there is some very 
direct evidence. A revolver with one dis- 
charged chamber and a calibre which corre- 
sponded with the bullet was found on the 
floor of her wardrobe." His eyes fixed and 
he repeated in broken words, " On— the — 
floor — of — her — wardrobe." Then he sank 
into silence, and I saw that some train of 
thought had been set moving which I should 
be foolish to interrupt. Suddenly with a 
start he emerged into brisk life once more. 

Yes, Watson, it was 
found. Pretty damning, 
eh ? So the two juries 
thought. Then the dead 
woman had a note upon 
her making an appoint- 
ment at that very place 
and signed by the gover- 
ness. How's that? Finally, 
there is the motive. Senator 
Gibson is an attractive per- 
son. If his wife dies, who 
more likely to succeed her 
than the young lady who 
had already by all accounts 
rece i ved pressi n g a t ten t ions 
from her employer ? Love, 
fortune, power, all de- 
pending upon one 
middle-aged life- 
Ugly, Watson — 
very ugly ! " 

deny it, for some passing villager had seen 
her there/' 

' That really seems final/ 1 
11 And yet, Watson — and yet I This bridge 
— a single broad span of stone with balus- 
trade d sides— carries the drive over the 
narrowest part of a long, deep, reed -girt 
sheet of water. Thor Mere it is called. In 
the mouth of the bridge lay the dead woman. 
Such are the main facts, But here, if I 
mistake not, is our client, considerably before 
his time/' 

Billy had opened the door, but the name 
which he announced was an unexpected one. 
Mr, Marlow Bates was a stranger to both of 
us. He was a thin, nervous wisp of a man 
with frightened eyes, and a twitching, 
hesitating manner — a man whom my own 
professional eye would judge to be on the 
brink of an absolute nervous breakdown. 

' You seem agitated, Mr. Bates," said 
Holmes. " Pray sit down. I fear I can 
only give you a short time, for I have an 
appointment at eleven." 

1 I know you have," our visitor gasped, 
shooting out short sen* 
tences like a man who 
is out of breath. " Mr + 
Gibson is coming. Mr, 
Gibson is my employer. 
I am manager of his 
estate, Mr, Holmes, he 
is a villain — an infernal 


' Yes, 
Holmes. 1 

' Nor could she 
prove an alibi. 
On the contrary, she had to 
admit that she was clown near Thor 
Bridge — that was the scene of the 
tragedy — about that hour. 

The wife was lound 

in the grounds, late at 

night, with a revolver 

bullet through her 



I from 


The Problem of Thor Bridge 

" Strong language, Mr. Bates." 

" I have to be emphatic, Mr. Holmes, for 
the time is so limited. I would not have 
him find me here for the world. He is 
almost due now. But I was so situated that 
I could not come earlier. His secretary, 
Mr. Ferguson, only told me this morning of 
his appointment with you." 

" And you are his manager ? " 

41 I have given him notice. In a couple of 
weeks I shall have shaken off his accursed 
slavery. A hard man, Mr. Holmes, hard to 
all about him. Those public charities are a 
screen to cover his private iniquities. But 
his wife was his chief victim. He was brutal 
to her — yes, sir, brutal ! How she came by 
her death I do not know, but I am sure that 
he had made her life a misery to her. She 
was a creature of the Tropics, a Brazilian by 
birth, as no doubt you know ? " 

" No ; it had escaped me." 

" Tropical by birth and tropical by nature. 
A child of the sun and of passion. She had 
loved him as such women can love, but when 
her own physical charms had faded — I am 
told that they once were great — there was 
nothing to hold him. We all liked her and 
felt for her and hated him for the way that 
he treated her. But he is plausible and 
cunning. That is all I have to say to you. 
Don't take him at his face value. There is 
more behind. Now I'll go. No, no, don't 
detain me ! He is almost due." 

With a frightened look at the clock our 
strange visitor literally ran to the door and 

" Well ! well ! " said Holmes, after an 
interval of silence. " Mr. Gibson seems to 
have a nice loyal household. But the 
warning is a useful one, and now we can only 
wait till the man himself appears." 

SHARP at the hour we heard a heavy step 
upon the stairs and the famous millionaire 
was shown into the room. As I looked 
upon him I understood not only the fears and 
dislike of his manager, but also the execra- 
tions which so many business rivals have 
heaped upon his head. If I were a sculptor 
and desired to idealize the successful man of 
affairs, iron of nerve and leathery of con- 
science, I should choose Mr. Neil Gibson as 
my model. His tall, gaunt, craggy figure 
had a suggestion of hunger and rapacity. 
An Abraham Lincoln keyed to base uses 
instead of high ones would give some idea of 
the man. His face might have been chiselled 
in granite, hard-set, craggy, remorseless, 
with deep lines upon it, the scars of many a 
crisis. Cold grey eyes, looking shrewdly 
out from under bristling brows, surveyed us 
each in turn. He bowed in perfunctory 
fashion as Holmes mentioned my name, and 
with a masterful air of possession he 

drew a chair up to my companion and seated 
himself with his bony knees almost touching 

" Let me say right here, Mr. Holmes," he 
began, " that money is nothing to me in this 
case. You can burn it if it's any use in 
lighting you to the truth. This woman is 
innocent and this woman has to be cleared, 
and it's up to you to do it. Name your 
figure ! " 

44 My professional charges are upon a fixed 
scale," said Holmes, coldly. " I do not vary 
them, save when I remit them altogether.'' 

" Well, if dollars make no difference to 
you, think of the reputation. If you pull 
this off every paper in England and America 
will be booming you. You'll be the talk of 
two continents." 

" Thank you, Mr. Gibson, I do not think 
that I am in need of booming. It may sur- 
prise you to know that I prefer to work 
anonymously, and that it is the problem 
itself which attracts me. But we are wasting 
time. Let us get down to the facts." 

" I think that you will find all the main 
ones in the Press reports. I don't know that 
I can add anything which will help you. 
But if there is anything you would w : ish more 
light upon — well, I am here to give it." 

44 Well, there is just orte point." 

44 What is it ? " 

" What were the exact relations between 
you and Miss Dunbar ? " 

The Gold King gave a violent start, and 
half rose from his chair. Then his massive 
calm came back to him. 

44 I suppose you are within your rights — 
and maybe doing your duty — in asking such 
a question, Mr. Holmes." 

44 We will agree to suppose so," said 

44 Then I can assure you that our relations 
were entirely and always those of an employer 
towards a young lady whom he never con- 
versed with, or even saw, save when she was 
in the company of his children." 

Holmes rose from his chair. 

44 I am a rather busy man, Mr. Gibson," 
said he, 44 and I have no time or taste for 
aimless conversations. I wish you good 

Our visitor had risen also and his great 
loose figure towered, above Holmes. There 
was an angry gleam from under those 
bristling brows and a tinge of colour in the 
sallow cheeks. 

44 What the devil do you mean by this, 
Mr. Holmes ? Do you dismiss my case ? " 

44 Well, Mr. Gibson, at least I dismiss you. 
I should have thought my words were plain." 

44 Plain enough, but what's at the back of 
it ? Raising the price on me, or afraid tc 
tackle it, or what ? I've a right to a plain 
answer " 


A. Conan Doyle 


r»n «*»■ n»ri fc » ii * i wj i . w to 

" I sprang to my feet t for the expression upon the millionaire's face was fiendish in its 
intensity, and he had raised his great knotted fist. Holmes smiled languidly and 

reached his hand out for his pipss/* 



The Problem of Thor Bridge 

" Well, perhaps you have," said Holmes. 
" I'll give you one. This case is quite 
sufficiently complicated to start with, without 
the further difficulty of false information." 

11 Meaning that I lie." 

44 Well, I was trying to express it as 
delicately as I could, but if you insist upon 
the word I will not contradict you." 

I sprang to my feet, for the expression 
upon the millionaire's face was fiendish in its 
intensity, and he had raised his great knotted 
fist. Holmes smiled languidly and reached 
his hand out for his pipe. 

•'Don't be noisy, Mr. Gibson. I find that 
after breakfast even the smallest argument 
is unsettling. I suggest that a stroll in the 
morning air and a little quiet thought will 
be greatly to your advantage." 

With an effort the Gold King mastered his 
fury. I could not but admire him, for by 
a supreme self-command he had turned in a 
minute from a hot flame of anger to a frigid 
and contemptuous indifference. 

" Well, it's your choice. I guess you 
know how to run your own business. I can't 
make you touch the case against your will. 
You've done yourself no good this morning, 
Mr. Holmes, for I have broken stronger men 
than you. No man ever crossed -me and 
was the better for it." 

" So many have said so, and yet here I 
am," said Holmes, smiling. " Well, good 
morning, Mr. Gibson. You have a good deal 
yet to learn." 

Our visitor made a noisy exit, but Holmes 
smoked in imperturbable silence, with dreamy 
eyes fixed upon the ceiling. 

" A^^ views, Watson ? " he asked at last. 
J-\ '* Well, Holmes, I must confess that 
when I consider that this is a man 
who would certainly brush any obstacle from 
his path, and when I remember that his wife 
may have been an obstacle and an object of 
dislike, as that man Bates plainly told us, it 

seems to me " 

14 Exactly. And to me also." 
" But what were his relations with the 
governess and how did vou discover them ? " 
" Bluff, Watson, bluff ! When I con- 
sidered the passionate, unconventional, un- 
businesslike tone of his letter, and contrasted 
it with his self-contained manner and 
appearance, it was pretty clear that there 
was some deep emotion which centred upon 
the accused woman rather than upon the 
victim. We've got to understand the exact 
relations of those three people if we are to 
reach the truth. You saw the frontal attack 
which I made upon him and how imper- 
turbably he received it. Then I bluffed him 
by giving him the impression that I was 
absolutely certain, when in reality I was 
only extremely suspicious." , 

" Perhaps he will come back ? " 

" He is sure to come back. He must come 
back. He can't leave it where it is. Ha ! 
isn't that a ring ? Yes, there is his footstep. 
Well, Mr. Gibson, I was just saying to Dr. 
Watson that you were somewhat overdue." 

The Gold King had re-entered the room 
in a more chastened mood than he had left 
it. His wounded pride still showed in his 
resentful eyes, but his common sense had 
shown him that he must yield if he would 
attain his end. 

44 I've been thinking it over, Mr. Holmes, 
and I feel that I have been hasty in taking 
your remarks amiss. You are justified in 
getting down to the facts, whatever they 
may be, and I think the more of you for it. 
I can assure you, however, that the relations 
between Miss Dunbar and me don't really 
touch this case." 

" That is for me to decide, is it not ? " 

" Yes, I guess that is so. You're like a 
surgeon who wants every symptom before 
he can give his diagnosis." 

"' Exactly. That expresses it. And it is 
only a patient who has an object in deceiving 
his surgeon who would conceal the facts of 
his case." 

" That may be so, but you will admit, 
Mr. Holmes, that most men would shy off a 
bit when they are asked point-blank what 
their relations with a woman may be — if 
there is really some serious feeling in the case. 
I guess most men have a little private reserve 
of their own in some comer of their souls 
where they don't welcome intruders. And 
you burst suddenly into it. But the object 
excuses you, since it was to try and save her. 
Well, the stakes are down and the reserve 
open and you can explore where you will. 
What is it you want ? " 

44 The truth." 

The Gold King paused for a moment as 
one who marshals his thoughts. His grim, 
deep-lined face had become even sadder and 
more grave. 

44 I can give it to you in a very few words, 
Mr. Holmes," said he at last. " There are 
some things that are painful as well as 
difficult to say, so I won't go deeper than is 
needful. I met my wife when I was gold- 
hunting in Brazil. Maria Pinto was the 
daughter of a Government official at Manaos, 
and she was very beautiful. I was young 
and ardent in those days, but even now, as 
I look back with colder blood and a more 
critical eye, I can see that she was rare and 
wonderful in her beauty. It was a deep rich 
nature, too, passionate, whole-hearted, tropi- 
cal, ill-balanced, very different from the 
American women whom I had known. Well, 
to make a long story short, I loved her and I 
married her. It was only when the romance 
had passed — ajid it iir»gered for years — that 


A. Conan Doyle 


I realized that we had nothing — absolutely 
nothing — in common. My love faded. If 
hers had faded also it might have been easier. 
But you know the wonderful way of women ! 
Do what I might nothing could turn her 
from me. If I have been harsh to her, even 
brutal as some have said, it has been because 
I knew that if I could kill her love, or if it 
turned to hate, it would be easier for both 
of us. But nothing changed her. She 
adored me in those English woods as she had 
adored me twenty years ago on the banks of 
the Amazon. Do what I might, she was as 
devoted as ever. 

" Then came Miss Grace Dunbar. She 
answered our advertisement and became 
governess to our two children. Perhaps you 
have seen her portrait in the papers. The 
whole world has proclaimed that she also is 
a very beautiful woman. Now, I make no 
pretence to be more moral than my neigh- 
bours, and I will admit to you that I could 
not live under the same roof with such a 
woman and in daily contact with her without 
feeling a passionate regard for her. Do you 
blame me, Mr. Holmes ? " 

"I do not blame you for feeling it. I 
should blame you if you expressed it, since 
this young lady was in a sense under your 

" Well, maybe so," said the millionaire, 
though for a moment the reproof had brought 
the old angry gleam into his eyes. 'I'm 
not pretending to be any better than I am. 
I guess all my life I've been a man that 
reached out his hand for what he wanted, 
and I never wanted anything more than the 
love and possession of that woman. I told 
her so. " 

•* Oh, you did, did you ? " 

Holmes could look very formidable when 
he was moved. 

" I said to her that if I could marry her I 
would, but that it was out of my power. I 
said that money was no object and that all 
I could do to make her happy and comfort- 
able would be done." 

" Very generous, I am sure," said Holmes, 
with a sneer. 

" See here, Mr. Holmes. I came to you on 
a question of evidence, not on a question of 
morals. I'm not asking for your criticism." 

" It is only for the young lady's sake that 
I touch your case at all," said Holmes, 
sternly. " I don't know that anything she 
is accused of is really worse than what you 
have yourself admitted, that you have tried 
to ruin a defenceless girl who was under your 
roof. Some of you rich men have to be 
taught that all the world cannot be bribed 
into condoning your offences." 

To my surprise the Gold King took the 
reproof with equanimity. 

" That's how I feel myself about it now. 

I thank God that my plans did not work out 
as I intended. She would have none of it, 
and she wanted to leave the house instantly." 

'* Why did she not ? " 

" Well, in the first place, others were 
dependent upon her, and it was no light 
matter for her to let them all down by 
sacrificing her living. When I had sworn— 
as I, did — that she should never be molested 
again, she consented to remain. But there 
was another reason. She knew the influence 
she had over me, and that it was stronger 
than any other influence in the world. She 
wanted to use it for good." 

" How ? " 

" Well, she knew something of my affairs. 
They are large, Mr. Holmes — large beyond 
the belief of an ordinary man. I can make 
or break — and it is usually break. It wasn't 
individuals only. It was communities, cities, 
even nations. Business is a hard game, and 
the weak go to the wall. I played the game 
for all it was worth. I never squealed 
myself and I never cared if the other fellow 
squealed. But she saw it different. I guess 
she was rigtyt. She believed and said that a 
fortune for one man that was more than he 
needed should not be built on ten thousand 
ruined men who were left without the means 
of life. That was how she saw it, and I guess 
she could see past the dollars to something 
that was more lasting. She found that I 
listened to what she said, and she believed 
she was serving the world by influencing my 
actions. So she stayed — and then this came 

" Can you throw any light upon that ? " 


HE Gold King paused for a minute or 
more, his head sunk in his hands, 
lost in deep thought. 
" It's very black against her. I can't deny 
that. And women lead an inward life and 
may do things beyond the judgment of a 
man. At first I was so rattled and taken 
aback that I was ready to think she had been 
led away in some extraordinary fashion that 
was clean against her usual nature. One 
explanation came into my head. I give it 
to you, Mr. Holmes, for what it is worth. 
There is no doubt that my wife was bitterly 
jealous. There is a soul-jealousy that can 
be as frantic as any b6dy- jealousy, and 
though my wife had no cause — and I think 
she understood this — for the latter, she was 
aware that this English girl exerted an 
influence upon my mind and my acts that 
she herself never had. It was an influence 
for good, but that did not mend the matter. 
She was crazy with hatred, and the heat of 
the Amazon was always in her blood. She 
might have planned to murder Miss Dunbar 
— or we will say to threaten her with a gun 
and so frighten her into leaving us. Then 



The Problem of Thor Bridge 

there might have been a scuffle and the gun 
gone off and shot the woman who" 

" That possibility had already occurred to 
me," said Holmes. " Indeed, it is the. only 
obvious alternative i to. deliberate murder. 1 ' 

" But she utterly denies it." 

" Well, that is not final — is it ? One can 
understand that a woman placed in so awful 
a position might hurry home still in her 
bewilderment holding the revolver. She 
might even throw it down among her clothes, 
hardly knowing what she was doing, and when 
it was found she might try to lie her way 
out by a total denial, since all explanation 
was impossible. What is against such 
a supposition ? " 

"Miss Dunbar herself." 

11 Well, perhaps." 

Holmes looked at his watch. " I have no 
doubt we can get the necessary permits this 
morning and reach Winchester by the evening 
train. When I have seen this young lady, 
it is very possible that I may be of more use to 
you in the matter, though I cannot promise 
that my conclusions will necessarily be such 
as you desire." 

THERE was some delay in the official pass, 
and instead of reaching Winchester that 
day we went down to Thor Place, the 
Hampshire estate of Mr. Neil Gibson. He 
did not accompany us himself, but we had 
the address of Sergeant Coventry, of the local 
police, who had first examined into the affair. 
He was a tall, thin, cadaverous man, with a 
secretive and mysterious manner, which 
conveyed the idea that he knew or suspected 
a very great deal more than he dared say. 
He had a trick, too, of suddenly sinking his 
voice to a whisper as if he had come upon 
something of vital importance, though the 
information was usually commonplace enough. 
Behind these tricks of manner he soon showed 
himself to be a decent, honest fellow who 
was not too proud to admit that he was 
out of his depth and would welcome any 

" Anyhow, I'd rather have you than 
Scotland Yard, Mr. Holmes," said he. " If 
the Yard gets called into a case, then the 
local loses all credit for success and may be 
blamed for failure. Now, you play straight, 
so I've heard." 

" I need not appear in the matter at all," 
said Holmes, to the evident relief of our 
melancholy acquaintance. " If I can clear 
it up I don't ask to have my name mentioned." 

11 Well, it's very handsome of you, I am 
sure. And your friend, Dr. Watson, can be 
trusted, I know. Now, Mr. Holmes, as we 
walk down to the place there is one question 
I should like to ask you. I'd breathe it to 
no soul but you." He looked round as 
though he hardly dare utter the words. 

" Don't you think there might be a case 
against Mr. Neil Gibson himself ? " 

" I have been considering that." 

" You've not seen Miss Dunbar. She is a 
wonderful fine woman in every way. He 
may well have wished his wife out of the 
road. And these Americans are readier 
with pistols than our folk are. It was his 
pistol, you know." 

" Was that clearly made out ? " 

" Yes, sir. It was one of a pair that he 

11 One of a pair ? Where is the other ? " 

" Well, the gentleman has a lot of fire- 
arms of one sort and another. We never 
quite matched that particular pistol — but 
the box was made for two." 

" If it was one of a pair you should surely 
be able to match it." 

" Well, we have them all laid out at the 
house if you would care to look them over." 

" Later, perhaps. I think we will walk 
down together and have a look at the scene 
of the tragedy." 

This conversation had taken place in the 
little front room of Sergeant Coventry's 
humble cottage, which served as the local 
police-station. A walk of half a mile or so 
across a wind-swept heath, all gold and 
bronze with the fading ferns, brought us to 
a side gate opening into the grounds of the 
Thor Place estate. A path led us through 
the pheasant preserves, and then from a 
clearing we saw the widespread, half- 
timbered house, half Tudor and half Georgian, 
upon the crest of the hill. Beside us there 
was a long, reedy pool, constricted in the 
centre where the main carriage drive passed 
over a stone bridge, but swelling into small 
lakes on either side. Our guide paused at 
the mouth of this bridge, and he pointed to 
the ground. 

" That was where Mrs. Gibson's body lay. 
I marked it by that stone." 

" I understand that you were there before 
it was moved ? " 

" Yes ; they sent for me at once." 

" Who did ? " 

" Mr. Gibson himself. The moment the 
alarm was given and he had rushed down 
with others from the house, he insisted that 
nothing should be moved until the police 
should arrive." 

" That was sensible. I gathered from the 
newspaper report that the shot was fired 
from close quarters." 

" Yes, sir, very close." 

" Near the right temple ? " 

" Just behind it, sir." 

" How did the body he ? " 

" On the back, sir. No trace of a struggle. 
No marks. No weapon. The short note 
from Miss Dunbar was clutched in her left 


A. C 





" Clutched, you say ? " 

44 Yes, sir ; we could hardly open 
angers. " 

11 That is of great importance. It excludes 
:hc idea that anyone could have placed the 
lote there after 
Jeath in order to 
furnish a false clue. 
Dear in e ! The 
note,as I remember, 
was quite short. ' I 
will be at Thor 
Bridge at nine 
D*clock. — G. Dun- 
bar/ Was that not 
30? ,J 

11 Yes, sir," 

*' Did Miss Dun- 
bar admit writing 
it? " 

" Yes, sir." 

" What was her 
explanation ? " 

" Her defence 
was reserved for the 
Assizes. She would 
say nothing." 

" The problem is 
certainly a very in- 
teresting one. The 
point of the letter 
is very obscure, is 
it not ? Pj 

M Well, sir/' said the guide, *'it seemed; if 
I may be so bold as to say so, the only really 
clear point in the whole case." 

Holmes shook his heail. 

" Granting that the letter is genuine and 
was really written, it was certainly received 
some time before — say one hour or two. 
Why; then, was this lady still clasping it in 
her left hand ? Why should she carry it so 
carefully ? She did not need to refer to it 
in the interview. Does it not seem remark- 
able ? " 

" Well, sir. as you put it, perhaps it does' 1 

" I think 1 should like to sit quietly for a 
few minutes and think it out. JJ He seated 
himself upon the stone ledge of the bridge, 
and I ecu Id see his quick grey eyes darting 
their questioning glances in every direction. 
Suddenly he sprang up again and ran across 
to the oppose parapet, whipped his lens 
from his poany and began to examine the 
stonework. " n\ 

11 This is ese t& " Mt said he. 

44 Yes, sir; wVsaw the chip on the ledge. 
I expect it's been done by some passer-by." 

The stonework was grey, but at this one 
point it showed white for a space not larger 
than a sixpence. When examined closely 
one could see that the surface was chipped 
as by a sharp blow, 

" It took some violence to do that/ 1 said 

gilized by A^OOgKT 

11 Out guide pointed to the giound, 'That 
was where Mrs. Gibson's body lay/" 

Holmes, thoughtfully. With his cane he 
struck the ledge several times without 
leaving a mark. * Yes, it was a hard knock. 
In a curious place, too* It was not from 
above but from below, for you see that it is 
on the lower edge of the parapet.'* 

4i But it is at least fifteen feet from the 

11 Yes, it is fifteen feet from the body. It 
may have nothing to do with the matter, but 
it is a point worth noting, J do not think 
that we have anything more to learn here. 
There were no footsteps, you say ? * J 

11 The ground was iron hard, sir. There 
were no traces at all/' 

" Then we can go* We will go up to the 
house first ©nt) SlMkf PDVWfT these weapons of 



The Problem of Thor Bridge 

which you speak. Then we shall get on to 
Winchester, for I should desire to see Miss 
Dunbar before we go farther." 

MR. NEIL GIBSON had not returned 
from town, but we saw in the house 
the neurotic Mr. Bates who had called 
upon us in the morning. He showed us 
with a sinister relish the formidable array 
of firearms of various shapes and sizes which 
his employer had accumulated in the course 
of an adventurous life. 

" Mr. Gibson has his enemies, as anyone 
would expect who knew him and his 
methods/' said he. ' He sleeps with a 
loaded revolver in the drawer beside his bed. 
He is a man of violence, sir,, and there are 
times when all of us are afraid of him. I am 
sure that the poor lady who has passed was 
often terrified." 

** Did you ever witness physical violence 
towards her ? " 

" No, I cannot say that. But I have 
heard words which were nearly as bad — 
words of cold, cutting contempt, even before 
the servants." 

'• Our millionaire does not seem to shine 
in private life," remarked Holmes, as we 
made our way to the station. '• Well, 
Watson, we have come on a good many 
facts, some of them new ones, and yet I 
seem some way from my> conclusion. In 
spite of the very evident dislike which Mr. 
Bates has to his employer, I gather from him 
that when the alarm came he was undoubtedly 
in his library. Dinner was over at eight- 
thirty and all was normal up to then. It is 
true that the alarm was somewhat late in 
the evening, but the tragedy certainly oc- 
curred about the hour named in the note. 
There is no evidence at all that Mr. Gibson 
had been out of doors since his return from 
town at five o'clock. On the other hand, 
Miss Dunbar, as I understand it, admits 
that she had made an appointment to meet 
Mrs. Gibson at the bridge. Beyond this she 
would say nothing, as her lawyer had advised 
her to reserve her defence. We have several 
very vital questions to ask that young lady, 
and my mind will not be easy until we have 
seen her. I must confess that the case 
would seem to me to be very black against 
her if it were not for one thing." 

M And what is that, Holmes ? " 
„ " The finding of the pistol in her wardrobe." 

" Dear me, Holmes ! " I cried, " that 
seemed to me to be the most damning 
incident of all." 

" Not so, Watson. It had struck me even 
at my first perfunctory reading as very 
strange, and now that I am in closer touch 
with the case it is my only firm ground for 
hope. We must look for consistency. Where 
there is a want of it we must suspect de- 

" I hardly follow you." 

" Well now, Watson, suppose for a moment 
that we visualize you in the character of a 
woman who, in a cold, premeditated fashion, 
is about to get rid of a rival. You have 
planned it. A note has been written. The 
victim has come. You have your weapon. 
The crime is done. It has been workmanlike 
and complete. Do you tell me that after 
carrying out so crafty a crime you would now 
ruin your reputation as a criminal by for- 
getting to fling your weapon into those 
adjacent reed-beds which would for ever 
cover it, but you must needs carry it care- 
fully home and put it in your own ward- 
robe, the very first place that would be 
searched ? Your best friends would hardly 
call you a schemer, Watson, and yet I could 
not picture you doing anything so crude as 

" In the excitement of the moment " 

" No, no, Watson, I will not admit that it 
is possible. Where a crime is coolly pre- 
meditated, then the means of covering it are 
coolly premeditated also. I hope, there- 
fore, that we are in the presence of a serious 

" But there is so much to explain." 

" Well, we shall set about explaining it. 
When once your point of vie\v is changed, 
the very thing which was so damning becomes 
a clue to the truth. For example, there is 
this revolver. Miss Dunbar disclaims all 
knowledge of it. On our new theory she is 
speaking truth when she says so. There- 
fore, it was placed in her wardrobe. Who 
placed it "there ? Someone who wished to 
incriminate her. Was not that person the 
actual criminal ? You see how we come 
at once upon a most fruitful line of 

r *r" 


(The extraordinary solution of this enthralling problem will appear n» donth.) 

c w 

^ Google 

Original from 







The writers of the following article, who were friends in his later years of 
Sir W. S. Gilbert, possess an unrivalled knowledge of the man and his 
methods of work. The "Bab Ballads" here given, which are illustrated by 
Gilbert's own drawings, were never reprinted in book form, and to most 

readers will be perfectly new. 

is to 
and to 
of his 

OUR charming business here 
draw upon Gilbert's earliest 
butions of wit and satire, 
forth in his literary youth, 
show how surely the masterpieces 
maturity have their source in those 
golden years when all the town awaited the 
weekly "Bab." 

To revert to magenta-bound volumes of 
the long-deceased Fun is not, however, a high 
road to the discovery of the lost Gilbert. 
Much he wrote in those pages is unsigned — 
how much, only we fortunate possessors of 
his own marked copies can be fully aware, for 
there are notably countless paragraphs, rarely 
without a characteristic initial letter, proving 
him as eager to play the chivalrous champion 
to the friendless and needy as to draw his 
glittering rapier against pretence and vul- 
garity. From the first "his foe was folly and 
his weapon wit," his heart softer than many 
guessed. When a girl employed by a fashion- 
able milliner died of overwork, Gilbert attacked 
her " murderer " by name with burning words. 
Case after case did he castigate, till cowards 
learnt to wince under the whip of Fun. 

Coming events cast their shadows before 
in such series as the "Comic Physiognomist " 
and "Men I Have Met " irresistibly portrayed. 
There is not a line uninteresting to the good 
Gilbertian, because between them lurk the 
origins of many a famous ditty. " Bores are 
of four kinds " may be instanced : — 

" i. Those who neither amuse nor in- 
struct. 2. Those who amuse without in- 
struction. 3. Those who instruct without 
amusing. 4. Those who profess to com- 
bine instruction and amusement." 
For each of such " prosy, dull, society 
sinners " he was, later, to apportion the 
punishment to " fit the crime." 

by LiOOglC 

There are those alive who recall passing 
the tuck-shop with stoicism in their youth 
to keep the penny that would ensure a " Bab." 
Yet Gilbert excuses publication in book form 
with his invariable modesty, on the ground 
that the verses sub-titled " Much Sound and 
Little Sense " " seem to have won a sort of 
whimsical popularity." " They are not, as 
a rule, founded on fact," he goes on, demurely. 
" I have ventured to publish the little 
pictures with them because, while they arc 
certainly quite as bad as the ballads, I sup- 
pose they are not much worse." The 
pictures are, indeed, beyond criticism. They 
defy it. They may be technically all wrong ; 
humoristically they are all right. 

Alas ! it was Gilbert himself who com- 
mitted the essentially Gilbertian sin of 
tinkering these classics, for in the last 
edition he edited during his lifetime 
his " improvements " broke the spell of 
cherished illusions. He perpetrated another 
literary crime even harder to forgive in 
condemning nearly twenty innocent " Babs" 
to burial alive. They were not reprinted in 
the book. 

One such — a veritable " Bab " in prose — 
is " Our Own Pantomime.. Harlequin Wil- 
kinson ; or The Fairy Pew-Opener and 
the Vicar of Pendleton-cum-Turnip-Top." 
Surely no great discernment is required to 
find distinct suggestions, both of " The Sor- 
cerer " and "Trial by Jury," here. 

It is sad that space lacks to quote 
" Gemma di Vergy," " a five-act play in 
blank verse suitable for Miss Bateman," 
for it is noteworthy that Jumbles the 
Jester gives a hint of the incomparable 
Jack Point : — 

" Julia : A murrain on thee, thou fool ! 

" Jumbles (sarcastically) : Nay, it is thou 



Lost " Bab Ballads 


that art the fool, and I, Jumbles the 
Jester, am a wise man. 

" Gemma [sternly) : This jester has amused 
me oft by his rare wit. 

' r Jumbles {feeling himself called upon to my 
something smart) : Then art thou for- 
sworn, and i, the fool, am the wiser of 
the twain," 


To pass to the rhymed 4i Babs/' which 
have become lost because never republished , 
is at once to perceive their real literary im- 
portance, Lear; Calverley, " Bon Gaultier," 

Lewis Carroll, produced flowers of airy fancy 
which are perennial joys. These, however, are 
not flowers only* The ' h Babs" bore fruit — 
the fruit of the joyous operas compact of the 
art that conceals art. ,H The Story of Gentle 
Archibald," who wanted to be a down, a 
cautionary tale Mr, Belloc could not surpass, 
is among the disinterred. 'Archibald the 
A 11 -Right " of r * Patience ,J might have 
written it, and its analogy with those dear 
favourites of that opera , " Teasing Tom " 
and 'Gentle Jane," need no underlining. 

My children, once I knew a boy 
(I lis name was Archibald Molloy} 
Whose kind papa, one Christ mas- time, 
Took him to see a pantomime, 
lie was a mild, delightful boy, 
Who hated jokes that caused annoy ; 
And none who knew him could complain 
Thai Archy ever gave them pain. 
But dou*l suppose he was a sad 
Or serious, solemn kind of lad ; 
Indeed, he was a cheerful son, 
Renowned for mild, respectiuHiiii, 

But, oh ! it was a rueful day 

When he was taken to the play ; 

The Christmas pant ami me that night 

Destroyed his gentle nature quite : 

And as they walked along the road 

That led to his papa's abode, 

As on they trudged through muck and nitre, 

He said, M Papa, if you desire 

My fondest hopes and joys to crown , 

Allow me to become a clown ! " 

I will not here attempt to show 

The hitter agony and woe, 

The sorrow and depression dire 

Of Archy s s old and fee hie sire. 

ifc Gh t Archibald," said he T " my boy, 

My darling Archibald Molloy ! 

Attention for one moment lend, 

You cannot seriously intend 

To spend a roving life in town. 

As vulgar, base, dishonest down, 

And leave your father in the lurch 

Who a ways meant you for the Church, 

And nightly dreams he sees his boy, 

* The Reverend Archibald Molloy ; ' ! 

That night as Archy lay awake. 
Thinking of all he'd break and take 
If he but had his heart's desire, 
The room seemed filled with crimson fire : 
The wall expanded by degrees, 
Disclosing shells and golden trees, 
Revolving round and round and round \ 
Red coral strewn upon the ground i 
And on the trees, in lasty green, 
The loveliest fairies ever seen. 
But one, more fair than all the rest, 
Came from a lovely golden nest, 
And said to the astonished boy, 
M Oh, Master Archibald Molloy, 
I know the object of your heart ! 
To-morrow morning you shall start 
Upon your rambles through the town 
As merry mischief- making clown ! " 

Next day, when Nurse Amelia called, 

To wash and dress her Archibald, 

She opened both her aged eyes 

With unmistakable surprise 

To find that Archy, in the night, 

Had turned all red and blue and white * 

rctful fun. 


Ml lijMiiLlVrL 

H, Rowland Brown and Rowland Grey 107 

Of healthy colour not a trace- 
Red patches on his little face. 
Black horsehair wig, round rolling eyes, 
Short trousers of prodigious size, 
White legs and arms, with spots of blue^ 
And spots upon his body, too ! 
Said she. " Why, what is this, my boy ? 
My gentle Archibald Molloy I 
Your good 1 apa I'll go and tell, 
Vol 1 must be dreadfully unwell, 
Although I know of no disease 
With any symptoms such as these." 

The good old lady turned 10 go 
And fetch his good papa, when, lo ! 
With irresistible attack 
He jumped upon her aged back. 

Pulled off the poor old lady's front. 

And thrashed her, while she tried to grunt, 

*" Oh, Archibald* what have you done ? 

Is this your mild* respectful fun* 

You bad, ungentleiuanly boy ? 

Fie on you, Archibald Molloy ! " 

Some dreadful power unseen, but near, 

Still urged him on his wild career, 

And made him burn and steal and kill 

Against his gentlemanly will. 

The change had really turned his brain ; 

He boiled his little sister Jane ; 

He painted blue his aged mother ; 

Hat down upon his little brother ; 

Tripped up his cousins with his hoop ; 

Put pussy in his father's soup ; 

Placed beetles in his uncle's shoe ; 

Cut a i>ol iceman right in two \ 

Spread devastation round — and, ah ! 

He red-hot -pokered his papa ! 

Be sure this highly reck Jess course 

Brought Archibald sincere remorse ; 

He liked a joke, and loved a Ifuigh, 

But was too well-behaved by half — 

With too much justice and good sense — 

To laugh at other folks' expense. 

The gentle boy could never sleep. 

But used to lie awake and weep, 

To think of all the ill he T d done. 

*' Is this," said he, " respectful 


Oh, fairy, fairy, I would fain 
That you should change me back again ! 
Some dreadful power 1 can't resist 
Directs my once respectful fist. 
Change, and I'll never once complain, 
Or wish to be a clown again I " 

He spoke, and lo ! the wretched boy 
Once more was Archibald Molloy ■ 
He gave a wild* delighted scream, 
And woke — for lo I it was a dream. 


With possibly the exception of " Blabworth- 
Cuiri-Talkington. 1 * an inferior version of 
1 Sir Macklin," and even more virulent 
against the strait-laced opposers of Sunday 
excursions and innocent outdoor pleasures, 
Gilbert's " Rejected Addresses " alone would 
nave given popularity to a !esser light, 
" Sir Conrad and the Rusty One " is an 
instance, with Conrad's battle-cry of " King 
Harry and Aunt jane/* as he had failed To 
find a younger fair to dub him knight, " The 
Sensation Twins " and " The Bandoline 
Player," " Sir Galahad the Goluptious," are 
men who should be met in handy volume 
form, ip Fanny and Jenny/' severally in 
love with Spiers and Pond and Bertram and 
Roberts, make the glad eye not unper- 
suasively. " The Ghost and His Lad ye 
Love JJ belong to " Ruddigore, 1 ' as will be 
shown, and to the " Prinee il Balcnie ,a it is 
alleged peculiarly romantic interest attaches, 
as written upon a wedding journey before for- 
tune came to u Bab.*' It is hard to have to 
pick and choose, yet surely the portraits of "The 
Three Bohemian Ones" are equal to any, their 
story highly instructive : — 

A worthy man in every way 
Was Mister Jasper Porklebay ; 
He was a merchant of renown 
(The firm was Porklebay and 

Three sons he had, and only three. 

But they were bad as bad could be; 

They spurned their father's right- 
eous ways, 

And went to races, balls, and 

On Sundays they would laugh P 

and joke, ^k 

I've heard them bet, iVe known them smoke, 
A I whist 1 hey "d sometimes take a hand \ 
These vices jasper coukhTt stand. 

At length the eldest son, called Dan f 
Became a stock tragedian. 
And earned his bread by ranting through 
Shakespearean parts, as others do. 

rhe second (Donald) would insist 
On starting as a journalist, 
Arid wrote amusing tales and scenes 
In all the monthly magazines. 

The youngest (Singleton his name) 
A comic artist he became, 
And made an income fairly good 
By drawing finny heads on wood. 



Lost " Bab Ballads " 

And as they trod these fearful ways 
(These three misguided Purklebays) 
They drew not on their father's hoard — 
For Jasper threw them overboard. 

Yes — jasper, grieving at their fa!L 
Renounced them one, renounced them alL 
And lived alone, so good and wise, 
At Zion Villa, Clapham Rise. 

By dint of work and skilful pitta 
Old Jasper grew a wealthy man ; 
And people said, in slangy form, 
That Jasper P, would ** cut up warm." 

He had no relative at all 
On whom his property could fall, 
Except, of course, his wicked sons, 
Those three depraved Bohemian ones. 

So he determined he would fain 
Bequeath his wealth (despite mortmain), 
Freeh old .s, debenture stock, and all, 
To some deserving hospital. 

When his intent was known abroad, 
Excitement reigned in every ward, 
And with the well -experienced throng 
Of operators all went wrong. 

St, Geoige's, Charing Cross, and Guy's, 
And little Westminster likewise, 
Bartholomew's and Middlesex, 
Combined old Jasper to perplex* 

House surgeons, spite of patients 1 hints. 
Bound headaches up in fracture splints ; 
In measles, strapped the spots that come, 
With strips of plain diachylum. 

Rare leeches, skilled at fever beds, 

For toothache shaved their patients* headsi 

And always cut their fingers of! 

If they complained of whooping cough. 

Their zeal grew greater day by da)', 
And each did all that in him lay 
To prove his own pet hospital 
The most deserving of them all 

Hough Jasper P. could not hut feel 
Delighted at this show of zeal. 
When each in zeal exceeds the rest, 
One can't determine which is best. 

Interea, his reckless boys 
Indulged in low Bohemian joys ; 
They sometimes smoked till ail was blue. 
And danced at evening parties, too* 

The hospitals, conflicting sore, 
Perplexed poor Jasper more and more, 
But, ah \ ere Jasper could decide, 
Poor charitable man, he died. 


And Donald, Singlet on , and Dan 
Now roll in wealth, despite his plan : 
So Donald, Dan. and Singleton, 
By dint of accident have won* 

Vice triumphs here ; but, if you please, 
It*s by exceptions such as these 
(From probability removed) 
That every static ling rule is proved. 

By strange exceptions Virtue deigns 
To prove how paramount she reigns 
A standing rule I do not know 
That's been more oft established so. 

Nonsense, perhaps, but "Ah, 
what precious nonsense ! ** 
The world without the 
" Babs " would assuredly be 

Gilbert had no ear for 
music in the accepted sense. 
He taught a wonderfully 
clever parrot to whistle "God 
Save the Queen, H or at least 
his version of it, and it was 
deplorably flat. But he had 
a marvellous ear for rhythm, 
as well as a marvellous 
igme , r n r%Ift-i aild though there 


H. Rowland Brown and Rowland Grey 109 

is said to be one single metrical error in 
the operas, it is not easy to discover it. This 
error was the crux of a Gilbert examina- 
tion paper many years ago in the West- 
minster Gazette > Indeed, he was never so 
happy as when quoting at length from the 
old burlesque writers, of whom H. j. Byron 
was his special favourite ; and to the last 
he could reel off an " j^Eneid " learnt at 
school, and reams of Calver ley's extremely 
difficult mnemonics. One who writes here 
asked him where he got the quaint names of 
the people of the *' Bab».' J He did not go h 
as did Bakac and his favourite, Dickens, 
marking down the names over shops — the 
Boffins, the Snodgrasses. He said the names 
came naturally to the rhythm of his verses, 
and a remarkable collection they are. The 
illustrations were never begun before the 
ballad was in form, 
and from the days of 
the " Pinafore ,J on- 
wards—the days when 
Lord Salisbury joined 
in its choruses at 
Hatfield with Disraeli, 
noting " Pinafore 
Smith " among the 
listeners — he provided 
Sullivan with a choice 
of lyrics over and 
above those finally in- 
cluded in the score. 
U n f or t u n a t ely these 
extra pieces do not 
appear to have been 
preserved, Gilbert 
was an inveterate de- 
stroyer, and as soon 
as an opera was com- 
pleted, even the MS,, 
if not given to the 
prima donna or some 
other fortunate artist, 
was consigned to the 
waste paper basket. 

For a time Gilbert's 
libretti were in form 
more or less of the 
o 1 d burlesque, The 
first in collaboration 
with Sullivan, "Thes- 
pis ; or the Gods 
Grown Old/' is of this 
type. It was written 
and produced in a 
month at the Gaiety. 
But from that time 
forward Gilbert created 
his own forms. M I 
have translated three 
farces or farcical 

comedies from the Some unpublished 

French/' he wrote in W, S, 

Vol liuL-8. 

1883, "and I have adapted two English works 
— namely, ( Great Expectations ' and ' Ought 
We to Visit Her ? * With these exceptions, all 
the plays I have written are original." 


jury * h opens the triumphal 




11 Trial by 
series, It is a skit on the then notorious 
proced ure of breac h - of - pro mise actions. 
The original ** set h ' was adapted from the 
chief court of the Clerkenwell Sessions House, 
which had apparently a previous existence 
as a place of entertainment other than that 
afforded by Judge and Bar, who were the 
particular targets for Gilbert's arrows in 
the pages of Fun* Some alterations had to 
be made in the disposition of the dock and 
barristers' seats, but the scene as we see it 
to- lay is substantially that of the old court- 
house closed last year. 
Then came "The 
Sorcerer," Its cradle 
is in the Christmas 
number of a bygone 
Graphic, and hints of 
its development occur 
in "The Cunning 
Woman"— " MacCata- 
combe de Salmoneye 
was her uncommon 
name." A long pro- 
cession of churchmen 
in the "Babe," gentle- 
men all, are forerunners 
of the " pale young 

And then the " Pina- 
fore," fresh to-day 
after its joyous cruise 
of four - and - fort v 
years. Half-a-dozen 
"Babs," among them 
"The Martinet,"" The 
Sensation Captain," 
"joe Golightly/' 
supply the motive, 
beginning with Captain 
Reece, commander of 
the Mantelpiece, who 
still holds premier 
pride of place in all 
subsequent editions of 
the Ballads. The 
model ship from which 
the set was made still 
stands in the entrance- 
hall of G rim's Dyke, 
and looking on it a 
vision rises of a far- 
away afternoon when 
three naval captains 
stood before it and 
the voice of Jellicoe 

rough sketches by 


Gilbert. malfjRi 


Lost " Bab Ballads 


verdict, " Not a rope wrong." Gilbert 
enlisted the services of an old salt to 
adjust the rigging once a year ; himself an 
expert yachtsman, holding a master's certifi- 
cate, he was as familiar with the rigging and 
equipment of a three-decker as those admirals- 
to-be themselves. " Our saucy ship's a 
beauty," and Captain Corcoran, who appears 
later in " Utopia " as Sir Edward Corcoran, 
K.C.B., still proudly walks her quarter-deck. 
Yet another admiral inspected the doughty 
warship on the first occasion of the revival 
of " Pinafore," and here is a letter, dated 
"Admiralty, December 14, 1887," to the 
composer : — 

" My dear Arthur, — I was perfectly 
delighted with ' Pinafore ' last night — quite 
excellent. You told me to tell you any- 
thing I saw which offended the eye of an 
expert. Don't be X. They are minor 
details, but make the difference in per- 
fection and not absolute perfection. [Then 
follow suggestions on improved rigging, 
manning the yards, etc. These are a few 
details, the rest is quite excellent. 
" Yours ever, 
" Charlie Beresford." 
Success at sea was clearly another link 
between Gilbert and his great ancestor. 

' The Pirates of Penzance " in its incep- 
tion is a travesty of the old melodrama 
which survived the date of its production 
principally in the toy theatres with card- 
board characters Gilbert loved from his 
earliest boyhood. We often discussed the 
fascination of these " penny plain, tuppence 
coloured " sheets which emanated from the 
purlieus of Old St. Luke's, and the make-up 
of the Pirate King was surely suggested by 
the brigand chief who swaggered and strutted 
before the tin oil-footlights in the Theatres 
Royal of our youth. 


Gilbert's love of the theatre, indeed, dates 
from his earliest boyhood, and he wrote the 
plays for himself up to the cardboard charac- 
ters. At school in the 'forties at Ealing, he 
wrote and produced plays for his school- 
fellows. Unfortunately there is no scrap of 
paper containing these first essays. But a 
" toy " theatre, or, rather, the stage, remained 
part of his author's stock-in-trade, and on it 
were manoeuvred and rehearsed the positions 
of a little army of wooden blocks represent- 
ing principals and chorus. Gilbert, indeed, 
harking back to classic precedent, was the 
first to assign intelligent interest and action 
to the chorus. The chorus plays a most 
important part in the operas, and is no mere 
group of automatons swaying backwards 
and forwards on one toe, wholly indifferent 
to the actions of the persons of the drama. 
The Policeman's chorus in the " Pirates " is 

Digitized by Lx* 

a classic. The " Babs " abound in police- 
men, for whom, both in prose and verse, he 
had a marked partiality. A bishop and a 
head-master of a great public school have, to 
our knowledge, recently collaborated in a 
Latin version of " When constabulary duty's 
to be done," and Gilbert often chuckled at 
the idea of the sixth-form boy required to 
turn his stanzas into hexameters and iambics. 

" Patience," the first, of the operas to be 
produced at the Savoy Theatre, is only linked 
to the ' Babs " by " Gentle Archibald," as 
aforesaid. It was> inspired by the aesthetic 
movement of the time (1881), when Gilbert's 
friend, George du Maurier, was holding up 
South Kensington to gentle ridicule in 
Punch — " good taste misplaced." The make- 
up of the ladies after Botticelli in the later 
revivals is therefore warranted, as well as 
more effective than that adopted in the 
earlier representations. Gilbert has been 
criticized unfavourably as harsh to old age, 
and the criticism is based largely on the song 
put into the mouth of Lady Jane in this 
opera. Anyone who takes the trouble to 
read the lyric, " Silvered is the raven hair," 
and others of similar nature, will find the 
satire directed, not against old age, but 
against the mature who play at youth — 
mutton dressed as lamb. For this dish he 
had no liking. 

In " Iolanthe," the only opera of which the 
original notes, sketches, and scenarios exist, 
to our knowledge, Gilbert returns with re- 
newed vigour to an idea crystallized in the 
" Babs " of a fairy wedded to a mortal, 
whose offspring partakes corporeally of both 
parents. In the " Babs " the father is an 
attorney ; in the opera, after several in- 
carnations as stockbroker and attorney, he 
blossoms out into the " highly susceptible 
Chancellor." Gilbert invariably rehearsed 
chorus and principals. We remember him 
at the dress rehearsal of an " Iolanthe " 
revival imploring the procession of peers to 
" wear their coronets as if they were used to 
them." It has been said that he never 
entered the theatre after the first night. This 
is as foolish a fable as that during first nights 
he paced the Embankment in a state of abject 
nervous excitement. As a matter of fact, 
he was usually to be found at the Beefsteak 
Club at such moments. 

" Princess Ida " cannot be better described 
than by the author himself. " A respectful 
operatic version of Tennyson's Princess." 
He had already been attracted to the 
Laureate's poem in pre-Savoy days, making 
of it " a whimsical allegory." 


" The Mikado " followed. It has no dis- 
coverable prototype in Gilbert's realm of 
topsy-turvydom, whether in the " Babs " or 


H. Rowland Brown and Rowland Grey 


■elsewhere, it has been played all over the 
^vorld and in many languages. A time-worn 
telegram signed " Malct " (Ambassador) 
announces its immediate success in Berlin, 
as in Budapest. The only unoriginal lyrics 
*are the Japanese, These, or at least the 
foundations of the choruses built to usher in 
his Imperial Majesty, were furnished by the 
Hon. B> Mitford, afterwards Lord Redesdale, 
then in the British Legation at Tokio, 

The brilliancy of " The Mikado " perhaps 
rather overshadowed " Ruddigore/ 1 At all 
events, the run of the piece was shorter than 
was customary at the Savoy, It has its 
origin in one of the " German Reed Enter- 
tainments " written by Gilbert in the sixties 
— ' ' Ages Ago," where 

ancestors also 
stepped from their 
frames . A f or ecas t 
of the famous 
Ghost Song of the 
second act occurs 
in Fun, with a 
characteristic illus- 
tration : — 

Fair phantom, to:ne ! 

The moon's awake. 
The owl hoots gaily from 
its brake, 
The blithesome bat's 
Come, soar to yonder 

silent clouds* 
The ether teems with 

peopled shrouds : 
We'll fly the lightsome 
spectre crowds, 
Thou cloudy, clammy 
thing ! 


Two unpublished 
sketches by W. S f 


And there is a 
further " Bab " hint 

in the + ' Modest Couple,** descriptive of the 
carryings on of Peter and Sarah Bligh. 
To resume the ridiculous after the sublime, 
when the ghosts have returned to their 
frames, was evidently a matter of concern 
to author and composer. On the clay after 
the production, January 22nd, 1887, Gilbert 
writes : — ■ 

11 38, Harrington Gardens, 

" 23rd January, 1887, 
" Dear SuixrvAN, — I can't help thinking 
that the second act would be greatly im- 
proved if the recitation before Grossmith's 
song were omitted, and the song reset to 
an air that would admit of his singing it 
desperately — almost in a passion — the 
torrent of which would take him off the 
stage at the end. After the long and 
solemn ghost scene, I fancy a lachrymose 
song is out of place, particularly as it is 
followed by another slow number — the 
duet between Jessie and Barrington. I 

feel this so strongly that I send this by 
hand, so that if you are of my opinion the 
matter could be put in hand at once, and 
perhaps sung on Wednesday next, The 
Observer is kindly. 

" Yours truly, 

" \V. S. Gilbert. 
" P.S.— I will call and talk it over this 
afternoon at three if you like," 


Gilbert's industry was as ready as his wit 

In " The Yeomen of the Guard " he strikes 

out in a new direction altogether. Confessedly 

Gilbert's favourite, it sounds a note of 

pathos wanting to its predecessors, but 

by no means always to the Gilbertian 

Muse. In it we have to deal with men 

of flesh and blood, not delightful fairies 

and whimsicalities ; and the women are 

real — a very rare occurrence in the operas. 

Indeed, it is remarkable how the male 

element predominates throughout the 

series. The "Yeomen" contains one of 

the most exquisite lyrics in the language 

— the song of Fairfax, " Is Life a Boon ? J> 

fit to rank high — a true Elizabethan — in 

our selectest anthologies. 

The sweet serious mood did not last 
long. In " The Gon- 
doliers " u Bab M is 
back at his old 
pranks ; changeling 
babes — a constant 
Bab 1 ' mottf — and 
universal topsy- 
turvydom; the gon- 
dolier boatmen- 
monarchs blacking 
their own boots, and 
Grand Inquisitors 
cutting discreet 
capers with pretty 


Naturally reticent and proud, with the 
artistic temperament brought to its highest 
pitch, he had a reputation wholly unmerited 
for aloofness and mordant bitterness of 
tongue. True, he had a rooted hatred for 
pretence and ostentation, a perfect disdain 
for meanness and miserliness. In his library 
there stood, and yet stands , a full-length 
statuette of Thackeray, for whose character 
and personality he had the deepest respect. 
Indeed, to a great extent, as a young man 
he seems to have modelled his attitude 
towards morality and art on that of the author 
of lf Vanity Fair." Thackeray was detested 
by the snob of his day — so was Gilbert, But 
he once said he never said a hard thing of 
anyone who did i\ot deserve the castigation. 








Y dear 

why not 

admit that 
you funked the place 
— and let \t go at 
that ? ' ' Naomi Braun - 
ston flicked the lash 
of her heavy hunting- 
crop scientifically at a 

twig in the leafless hedgerows, re-coiled the 
thong round her hand, and trotted off — rising 
squarely as a man from her man's saddle — 
into the gathering twilight. 

For a moment her companion thought to 
follow. Then, changing I lis mind, he walked 
his tred roan on up the hill. A flush deep 
as the mud-flecked scarlet of his hunting- 
coat mantled his wind-tanned cheeks. Under 
the auburn of the cropped moustache, his 
fine teeth bit on the lower lip. His eyes, 
steel-blue beneath the black brim of the high 
silk hat, were the eyes of a shamed schoolboy. 
And perhaps it was school boyish for a 
ntan of thirty-eight with Victor's service 
record to take such a remark seriously. But 
when you happen to have been born in the 
very centre of that particular England which 
folk call " The Shires " ; when, from the hour 
you first straddled a Shetland pony no 
bigger than the stable mastiff to the day you 
came back twice wounded and four times 
decorated from the conquered Rhine, every- 
thing you thought worth living for {and 
fighting for, and, if necessary, dying for) 
has been comprised in the three syllables 
of the word " fox hunting " ; when you're 
" damned if you know what to do with your- 
self " from the time of the" stinking violets Kt 
to the time when the " dahlias are dead " ; 
when the only music you love is the high 
note of hounds breaking covert on a breast- 
high scent, and all the pictures you care to 
see are the pictures a man may espy from 
the back of a mettlesome horse as he follows 
the speeding pack ; when, all about you, 
for forty hard-riding miles on either side, 
neither man, woman, nor child worries if you 

Copyright, iq?2, by Gilbert Fran Liu 


Illustrated by Gilbert Holiday. 

be lord or steeple- 
chase jock, poet or 
profiteer, so long as 
you go straight at 
your fences and don't 
gallop more than abso- 
lutely necessary over 
Farmer Thompson 's 
wheat ; and when— in 
addition to all these 
things — you happen 
to be Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Victor Plow- 
right Lomond ham, Baronet, Royal Horse 
Artillery (retired), of Lomondham Hall, 
1 Leicestershire, and Charles Street, May* 
fair, with thirty thousand pounds a year 
inherited income, a moderate conceit of 
yourself, and an immoderate desire to 
share both with your neighbour's daughter 
Naomi— then, quite conceivably, you allow 
that kind of remark, especially from her, to 

Besides— and this was the worst of it — the 
remark happened to be true. Victor Lomond- 
ham — as he now admitted to his private 
soul — had funked not only the particular 
place of which Naomi spoke, a double-oxer 
with a uastyish ditch on the take-off side 
and a still nastier one on the landing, but 
half a hundred other leaps during the last 
half *do zen weeks. Ever since the opening 
meet of the season— to be perfectly frank 
with himself — he had been " going like a pair 
of boots/ - Something, some Peculiar Thin^. 
seemed to have got hold of him. To-night, 
riding at a snail -pace toward the lights of his 
home, Lomondham knew, for the first time, 
that the name of that Peculiar Thing must 
be " Fear." 

And at that he thought, grimly, " Afraid ! 
Me ! Good God, this won't do — this won't 
do at all." It seemed almost incredible that, 
after five years of warfare — years during 
which, inwardly , he had so often scoffed at 
others " getting the wind up " — Fear should 
have singled him out, in the hunting-field of 
all places, for its victim. Yet the incredible 
had to he faced, r I am afraid," he thought. 
" I'm scared stiff ot r my own gee-gees/' 

Gilbert Frankau 


The roan, as though in confirmation of 
life master's newly-Efcquired self-knowledge, 
stumbled — sending the rider's heart into 
his mouth. Lomondham damned the beast, 
damned himself for his injustice (no horse 
stumbles on purpose), and so came past the 
lodge-gates of Lomondham Hall, round the 
drive, into the great quadrangle of his stables. 
As he dismounted a boy ran to take the horse, 
and Walters, the stud-groom — a burly, clean- 
shaven worthy who had been in the Lomond - 
hams' service all his life— approached with 
touched cap and a deferentially cheerful : 
44 How did it go after the change, Sir Victor?" 

" Pretty fair, thanks, Walters." Lomond- 
ham stamped his booted feet on the gravel, 
and the pair of them followed the tired nag 
under the stable archway — for the habits of 
the Regular Army are not lightly discarded, 
nor was the master of Lomondham Hall one 
of those who leave the care of their horses to 
underlings, however trustworthy those under- 
lings may appear to be. 


HUNTING over for the day, his hour in 
" Stables " had always been Lomond- 
ham 's supreme and particular j oy . But 
this evening — and weariness, even after the 
hardest galloped run, was rare with him — 
he felt weary, almost too weary to make his 
usual round. Yet the physical fatigue in 
him seemed paltry when compared with the 
mental unease. 

Breaking one of his own stable-rules, he 
lit himself a cigarette, and began to pace — 
the silent stud-groom at his elbow — dis- 
consolately down the red - brick - floored, 
electric-lit corridors, opening each door as 
he came to it, entering here, merely peering 
in there, while the rugged occupants of the 
odorous stalls stamped and whinnied to his 
known approach. 

Two dozen first-class horses there were at 
Lomondham Hall — as fine a string of hunters 
as the poorest hunting-man ever dreamed of 
in his poverty ; and master and stud-groom 
visited two-and-twenty of them, from Quick- 
silver, the chestnut pony with the white 
stockings, who had leaped Little Overdine 
Brook clean from poached bank to poached 
bank on the day when Farmer Thompson's 
cart-horses and tackle-chains had worked 
till dusk dragging bogged thoroughbreds from 
the mire, past the two grey Arabs, Selim and 
Ali, whose tails stuck up like gigantic ostrich- 
feathers, and whose actions were smooth as 
a cat's canter over turf, to the slim seventeen- 
hand Nigger Princess, with her ears bent 
wickedly backwards, the whites of her eye- 
balls gleaming, and her hind hoofs itching 
to lash out at the visitors. 

It was on Nigger Princess — quiet as a lamb 
once mounted but a devil unleashed in 

stables — that Victor, just before " change of 
horses," had funked the " place " of which 
Naomi spoke ; and he stood watching the 
mare for a long while, wondering whether she 
too realized her master's cowardice. 

" About to-morrow, Sir Victor?" inter- 
rupted Walters, anxious for his tea. 

" Selim and Ali's turn, isn't it ? I sha'n't 

need the car " Lomondham stopped, 

chewing at his moustache. To-morrow, thank 
the Lord ! would be an easy day — the meet 
practically at his own gates, the country 
known to a post, Selim and Ali — rides for a 

" Very good, Sir Victor." Walters, his 
duties almost over for the day, made a slight 
movement towards the last two loose-boxes, 
from one of which came the hiss and scrape 
of the stable-boy cleaning the roan. But 
his master halted him with a sharp, 
" Walters ! Did you have Mustard-Pot shod 
this morning ? " 

" Yes, Sir Victor." 

" Good. I'll have a look at him." 

Master, a vague idea simmering at the back 
of his mind, and man, concealing his annoy- 
ance, made their way to the end loose-box of 
all, clicked on the light, opened the high 
grilled door, and passed in. 

The first peculiarity which struck the 
observer's eye about Mustard-Pot was his 
colour ; the next his size. Stripped of his 
rugs, the enormous horse, standing pre- 
historic in the glare of the naked light-bulb 
above his manger, showed as near butter- 
yellow as a steed can be and live. In build, 
he might have been model to some equine 
sculptor of the gigantically symbolic. Judg- 
ing from the slope of his huge shoulders, from 
the set ci his lean pasterns, from the muscled 
swell of his gaskins, and the sinuous perfec- 
tion of his hocks, any man might have said 
to himself — as Lomondham had said when 
he bought him, preternaturally cheap at a 
little-frequented show: " Here is the leaper 
of the world ! " 

And as a fact, in cold blood, over schooling- 
fences or the bar, Mustard-Pot could have 
held his own, and more than his own, with a 
kangaroo. As a show-jumper, he had no 
equal ; as a hack, his paces and his temper 
were no less perfect than his appearance was 
bizarre. It was only in the hunting-field — 
and possibly on the steeplechase course, 
though Victor, who at that period of his life 
hated racing, had never tried the experiment 
— that Mustard-Pot became entirely unman- 
ageable. Whether, according to stable- 
legend, the animal had circus-blood in him, 
and could only perform in a ring ; whether 
he suffered from that obscure human com- 
plaint known as " crowd-panic " ; or whether, 
in the words of Tom Sampey, the Little Over- 
dine horse-breaker whom he had brought 
DmvtRiM Y OF iWLfll'oAN 

ii 4 

Mustard-Pot — Matchmaker 

back white and shaking like a leaf after a 
three-mile bolt up and down the stiffest 
country in the Vale of Scree ver, " The 
trouble with him is that he's got a nose like 
a hound and follows scent on his own " — 
appeared to Mustard-Pot's owner, as he 
ground one spurred heel pensively into the 
clean peat-moss litter, the most unprofitable 
of speculations. Remained, as solid cer- 
tainty, only the fact, that if — instead of 
Selim — he rode the yellow horse on the 
morrow, nobody, not even Naomi, could 
accuse him of funking. 

" I think I'll give the Arabs a day off," he 
said, tersely. " We'll make it Mustard-Pot 
first, Quicksilver second"; and leaving the 
stud-groom to astonished speculation and 
the re-rugging of the horse, strode off. 


THE dwelling-house of Lomondham Hall, 
a vast brown-stone pile, tall of chimney- 
stack and mullioned of window, backed 
by the great oaks and green rides of Lomond- 
ham Wood, and fronted, mile upon mile, by 
the terracing down -sweep of Lomondham 
Vale, is separated from the stables by a good 
three hundred yards of gravel drive and 
shrubbery— distance enough, if a man take 
-it slowly, for him to change his mind more 
than once. But Victor, having given his 
order to the stud-groom, did not turn back. 
He- came — a tall, powerful figure, the last 
person in the world one would have sus- 
pected of " nerves " — between the tall opal 
lights either side the open front door, up the 
steps, and into the big square galleried hall. 
He handed his hat, his gloves, and his 
hunting-crop to his waiting valet ; he sank 
into his big chair by the blazing fire ; he 
permitted himself to be served with tea and 
muffins from massive Georgian silver ; he 
patted his rough-haired terrier with a 
firm, capable hand ; and went up the 
balustered staircase to his warmed bath- 
room as coolly as any other millionaire 
aristocrat without a care in the world save 
his own enjoyment. 

Yet, inwardly, Sir Victor Plowright 
Lomondham, of Lomondham Hall, knew 
himself all one shivering apprehension. 
Dressing for dinner, in the beamed Tudor 
bedroom, he remembered the Biblical phrase, 
" His bowels turned to water " ; and found 
it amazingly applicable to the . morrow. 
Dining, *- alone with his gloomy pictured 
ancestors, the men-servants manoeuvring 
like trained shadows behind his back, it 
seemed to him that the foods were tasteless, 
the wine soured in his mouth. In the 
smoking-room — dinner over, whisky-and-soda 
at his elbow, a cigar between his teeth — he 
fell to wondering why, for the past month, 
he had never invited a guest. 

Then he grew introspective; and in this 
mood of introspection, a mood never before 
experienced, he thought, suddenly, "I'm 
lonely, the most damnably lonely fellow in 
the world." 

From which — and this, perhaps, furnishes 
the psychological diagnosis that a nerve- 
doctor, had Sir Victor ever dreamed of con- 
sulting one, would have made on his mental 
condition — the baronet's thoughts switched, 
longingly, to Naomi. Vividly and acutely he 
became conscious of her — of the long lithe 
limbs, breeched knees gripping saddle, booted 
feet thrust home in the stirrup-irons ; of the 
broad shoulders and the deep bosom which 
the riding-coat hid without concealing ; of 
the hands capable as his own ; of the fine 
little head, beclustered with darkling tresses ; 
of the eyes, big and jet-black under jet-black 
brows ; and the red ripe fullness of* those lips 
which had said to him : ' You funked tho 
place — let it go at that." 

Followed, hot on the heels of this sudden 
vision, a rage of self-questioning. Even 
admitting that he had " got the wind up " in 
the hunting-field, what the devil difference 
did that make to his marrying Naomi ? 
Hadn't hundreds, thousands of other men 
been forced — sooner or later — to give up 
riding in the " first flight " ? Didn't a man's 
nerve, naturally, break down when he reached 
a certain age ? Weren't there cases of steeple- 
chase jockeys, fellows cool as cucumbers in 
the hell-for-leather leap-and-gallop between 
the flags of a marked and prepared course, 
who didn't dare — simply didn't dare — 
ride straight to hounds across a couple of 
miles of cut-and-laid and ridge-and-furrow ? 
Didn't a chap's nerve come back, come back 
quite miraculously, if only he took a really 
good toss over timber ? And, finally — 
finally, wouldn't Naomi, the very moment 
she saw him on Mustard-Pot, realize that her 
taunt had t been unjust, and apologize for it ? 
- That Jmagined apology, you see, was the 
real crux, of the whole business. Lomond- 
ham had been on the verge, on the very 
verge of proposing. But a man, a man of 
his temperament and outlook, couldn't very 
well propose to a girl who — who had the 
whip-hand of him. In matrimony as in 
life, the master of Lomondham Hall must 
be top-dog ; capable of controlling his woman 
as of controlling his staff and his gee-gees. 

Many a man, by the way, has broken his 
neck in the hunting-field for far less reason ! 


EMONDHAM, according to custom, left the 
smoking-room at half-past ten to the 
tick ; dismissed his valet at ten-forty- 
five ; got into bed at five minutes to eleven 
— and never slept a wink till 4 a.m. Alter- 
nately, through 1 1 fftli® niong restless hours, 


Gilbert Frankau 


• »*f! 

'Good morning, Victor 

So Tom managed to brgak Muilutd-Pot for you* did he ? 



Mustard-Pot — Matchmaker 

Naomi, Nigger Princess, and Mustard-Pot 
haunted him ; and when at long last he did 
sleep, the yellow horse gallopaded through 
his dreams — dreams in which he heard 
himself praying, voicelessly to the heedless 
gods, for a frost severe enough to stop hunting 
for ever and ever, amen. Morning, however, 
brought neither frost nor storm ; but a 
greyly perfect winter's day, almost warm 
and with hardly a breath of wind. 

Morning, too, brought its mental reaction ; 
so that it seemed to Naomi's lover, sitting 
down spurred and scarlet-clad to his ample 
breakfast, as though the night had never 
been. His mood of the moment was sheer 
recklessness — that particular kind of reck- 
lessness which is so often mistaken for true 
courage. He thought, a little bombasti- 
cally: " I'll show that saffron quadruped, 
I'll show Naomi Braunston, who is master." 

And this mood of swaggering recklessness 
— a mood as foreign to the real poised 
Lomondham as the introspection of the 
night before — endured all through breakfast- 
time, all through his post-breakfast cigar 
and his half-hour with his newspaper in the 
bow-windowed library, right up to the very 
moment when — at ten-thirty to the second 
— Mustard- Pot's big hoofs halted on the 
gravel drive. Then, abruptly, " nerves " 
once more had their way with him. 

Neither his hands, as — his gleaming silk 
hat already on his head — he took his buckskin 
gloves and his short-handled long-thonged 
crop from his man ; nor his white-breeched, 
top- booted legs — as he stood on the broad 
steps looking down at the saddled horse — 
actually trembled : yet, to prevent them 
from trembling took every ounce of his self- 
control. He wanted to say to Walters, 
whose curiosity had not been able to resist 
the temptation of allotting himself the post 
of second horseman for the day, and who was 
even now wondering whether he should ask 
permission or simply go back to the stables 
and bring Quicksilver on : "I've changed 
my mind." He wanted to tell the stable-boy 
at the horse's head : " Take that brute 
away ; and bring Selim round as quickly as 
ever you can." 

Instead, he went slowly down the broad 
stone steps ; gentled the steady yellow 
muzzle ; cast a quick eye over girthing and 
bridling ; let out a link of the burnished 
curb-chain ; thrust his foot into the iron ; 
swung himself to saddle with a terse, " You 
needn't hold his head as if he were going to 
eat you, lad," to the stable-boy ; gave 
Walters his orders about Quicksilver — and 
set off down the drive as though the curious 
domestic heads peering from the various 
windows did not exist. 

All the same, when Mustard-Pot — appar- 
ently the gentlest creature ever foaled — 

stepped daintily between the lodge-gates, 
Mustard-Pot's rider felt acutely self-conscious. 
With his terror — for now that he was actually 
astride that vast butter-coloured back, only 
terror describes his emotion — mingled a 
peculiar pride. For the first time in his life 
he wanted, not merely to do things for the 
pleasure of doing them, but so that others, 
particularly Naomi, should be witnesses of 
his accomplishment. 

Nor were spectators lacking to gratify the 
man's desire ! Already, a mile from Lomond- 
ham Ruffs, immaculate limousines occupied 
by immaculate sportsmen, fat farmers in 
grunting Fords, slim farmers' wives in smart 
traps, grooms with two horses and grooms 
with one, men in pink frock-coats and men 
in black cut-aways, bowler-hatted girls 
astride and top-hatted women in side-saddles, 
boys on ponies and greybeards on cobs, 
folk on foot and folk on push-bikes, came 
crowding along the road and along the grass 
at road-side. 

But now, Lomondham's thoughts were 
all for the great horse. The great horse, 
already conscious of the chase, had pricked 
his ears. His neck arched to the reins. He 
tossed at his bit. His clipped skin twitched 
and twitched. His gentle walk became an 
amble. He began to dance among the 
crowd. The foot-folk drew to hedge-side. 
A hunting-mother shepherding two flapper 
daughters cursed "that ass Lomondham, 
who ought to know better than to bring 
circus-horses into the hunting-field." 

Victor — his terror momentarily in abey- 
ance — managed to simmer the horse down 
just as Naomi on a big grey and her father 
on a fat dun trotted slowly out of the bridle- 
path from Little Lomondham on to the 

She greeted him easily : " Good morning, 
Victor. So Tom Sampey managed to break 
Mustard-Pot for you, did he ? I'm so glad. 
He is a topper." Her father said : " Hallo, 
Lomondham. Going to give us all a lead, 
what ? " 

Lomondham looked at the big black-eyed, 
black-moustached landowner, at his tall 
black-eyed, black-tressed daughter ; and 
answering, " Yes, it's a good thing we've 
broken him to hounds at last," wondered 
what the devil would happen when hounds 
actually appeared. 

Then Mustard-Pot began dancing again, 
and he had no time to think, no opportunity 
to observe that sudden flash of terrified 
understanding in the girl's eyes. 


FROM the western edge of Lomondham 
Ruffs — a twenty-acre patch of gorse 
through which the green rides cut straight 
as cricket-pitches- --three hundred horsemen 


Gilbert Fraiikau 

ii 7 

and horsewomen listened to the shrill music 
of hounds to scent, listened for the twang of 
the silver horn and the loud " Gone away " 
which signals a fox pushed from covert. 
But the three-hundred-and-first horseman 
listened not at all. 

Mustard-Pot, at first sight of the pack 
jig-jogging up the road, had been mad enough, 
now, hearing them, he seemed to have gone 
utterly crazy. The gentle hack had dis- 
appeared ; in its place was a snorting, 
plunging, rearing, buck-jumping, pig-jumping 
saffron maniac whose one idea seemed to be 
to fling his rider out of the saddle and join the 
hounds on his own. Lomondham, wrenching at 
the near reins as a man wrenches at the tiller 
of a racing-yacht, had just managed to draw 
away from the rest of the field ; and was 
still managing — though every leap of the 
crazed animal sapped a little more of his 
strength — to hold him from bolting into the 
gorse. Curiously enough, the man's terror 
had disappeared. Clinging — thigh, knee, and 
calf — to the smooth ox-hide ; cursing — as 
only hunting-men can curse — at the back of 
Mustard-Pot's heedless ears ; giving him 
every inch of rein he dared, yet conscious 
that the inch too much would mean disaster ; 
swaying to him as he spun like a top ; 
leaning back to him as he buckjumped, and 
forward, feet scarcely touching the irons, 
as he reared — he thought only : " Why 
don't the fox break ? Why the devil don't 
he break ? " Nerves, love, pride, self-con- 
sciousness — all these had momentarily dis- 
appeared from Victor's mind. He was just 
a horseman ; fighting for mastery ; feeling 
— with each pitched second — that mastery 
at ebb from his hands and body ; feeling the 
demon under him grow stronger and always 
stronger to his own weakness ; knowing 
instinctively that his one chance, his one and 
only chance of ultimate victory lay in letting 
Mustard-Pot have his head and gallop till 
the power went out of his jaw-bones. 

Mustard-Pot gave one last frantic buck, 
head between forelegs, hind heels high in 
air — and abruptly, from beyond The Ruffs, 
came the twang-twang of the huntsman's 
horn, the roared " Gone away — gone away " 
of a galloping whipper-in. Looking about 
him, in the second of time his horse allowed, 
Lomondham saw the rest of the field pre- 
paring to follow — an orderly stampede of 
horsemen and horsewomen, thrusters pushing 
to the front, second-flighters hanging back, 
wise ones rounding the gorse and weak ones 
making for road or bridle-paths. Then he 
gave the yellow gelding his head. 

It wasn't a case of " cutting down the 
field." Mustard-Pot, once loosed, went past 
the swiftest of them like a torpedo-boat past 
fishing-smacks ; and as he went — green turf 
thudding under him, black turf flying from 

his flying heels — panic, the sheer panic of 
Things Uncontrollable, entered once again 
into his rider. Instinctively, Lomondham 
knew that the fox would make due east for 
Saxenham ; instinctively, a map of the 
country beyond The Ruffs flashed through 
his mind ; instinctively, he tried to steer 
Mustard-Pot to the right, away from the 
most dangerous line in all the Vale. 

But Mustard-Pot's long-cheeked curb might 
have been a watering-bridle. Straight for 
The Ruffs he made — his speed increasing 
with every gigantic bound ; straight across 
them he went — his rider, feet back, body 
forward in the saddle — seeing rabbit-holes 
and bramble slide under and past them as 
ground slides past and under the mounting 

AND now, as they flew for the far edge of 
Jh-^ The Ruffs, all hope went from Victor. 
At that pace no horse could hope to come 
safe across the one stone wall in the Vale, and 
up the big bank beyond the wall, and down 
the bank into Tupper's Lane. There was 
nothing — nothing in all the world to do save 
sit down, and sit still, and pray that the fall 
would throw him clear. As for hounds, 
fox, whippers-in, or huntsman — Lomond- 
ham had forgotten clean about them. 

But Mustard-Pot had not forgotten. 
Mustard-Pot's keen ears heard, away beyond 
the high thing his fiery eyes had just 
perceived, the music of the pack. Lomond- 
ham, still praying, felt the mad pace slacken for 
the fraction of seconds ; saw the jagged top 
of the wall racing at him ; felt the saddle 
rise between his thigh-Bones, as the horse 
gathered hocks under belly for the leap ; 
glimpsed the jagged wall-top flash below ; 
knew one danger safely over-past; was 
conscious of the man-tall bank ahead, of 
Mustard-Pot hurling himself to top of it, 
of Mustard-Pot poised for the down-spring, of 
the green lane below and a grey thorough- 
bred checking in the lane, of his own 
back touching Mustard-Pot's croup as they 
alighted, and of the twelve-foot bullfinch — 
impenetrable as barbed wire — a bare six 
inches from his nose. 

How horse and rider went through that 
bullfinch, Naomi, mud-splashed to the eyes, 
never knew. She merely saw Victor's scarlet 
crop-arm fling up to shield his face, and the 
yellow horse charge head down at the 
interlaced thorns, buck his way into them, 
and disappear to a crashing of wood and a 
thudding squelch of steel plates among 
rotten leaves and stagnant water. As for 
Lomondham, he could see nothing. He 
was conscious only of a million cats trying 
to scratch the skin from his face, the clothes 
from his body, and of a million claws trying to 
drag him backwards over the cantle. Then 



Mustard-Pot> — Matchmaker 

— hat snapped from its cord, left spur 
wrenched oft its strap, one pink coat-tail left 
in the hedge and the other torn to tatters — - 
he was through and in sight of the pack. 

The pack, in full cry and so close on each 
other's sterns that they looked like one 
hound, were three good fields ahead : the 
huntsman and a whipper-in, alone in their 
glory, one. A little of his old coolness came 
back to Lomond I) am. The going — uphill 
across the switchback of deep furrows 
and high ridges which had been plnughland 
in Crom well's day — steadied Mustard -Pot's 
stride ; and glancing over his right shoulder, 
Mustard- Pot's rider could see half-a-dozen 
horsemen pelting to be level with him. He 
thought, vaguely ; " By gad, that was a 
short-cut with a vengeance. We're giving 
*em all a lead." Then he thought of Naomi's 
grey, checking in the lane — and shivered in 
his saddle at the realization that he might 
have jumped clean on top of it. 

Followed realization of the fence ahead — 
a double post-and -rails with a thorn-filled 
ditch on the far side. Mustard- Pot gathered 
speed, hurling himself across the ridge- 
and-furrow, The wind of their going whipped 
through Lomondham's hair. Fifty yards 
from the timber he took a pull at his reins. 
But the yellow horse raced on unheeding, 
balanced himself in mid-career, and, clearing 


" How horse and rider went through, Naomi, 

the obstacle with feet to spare, saw the two 
scarlet coats ahead. 

No holding the lunatic yet ! Still uphill, 
still over ridge-and-furrow, he tore like a 
steed possessed. The two scarlet coats were 
coming back to them. Back and back 1 
Lomondham tried to steer round. But 
the yellow horse held straight on and 
shot between the galloping pair, missing 
them by a hair's-breadth, scattering his 
clods in their faces, Victor heard the hunts- 
man's outraged blasphemy die away down 
wind as Mustard -Pot took the next post-and- 
rails in his stride. 

And now — now neither hill nor fence nor 
furrow checked them, For eight hundred 
yards the ground under hoof was flat as a 
racecourse. Across that flat ground, hounds 
and quarry had gone like a flame — gone over 
the brow of the rise — down into the heart of 
the Vale. And desperately — desperately, as 
though his red nostrils told him the way they 
had travelled — desperately as a prairie- fire 
leaps the crackling grasses — Mustard -Pot fled 
after. No foam flecked his useless bit. No 
sweat darkled on his striding muscles. He 
was still fresh — fresh and fearless and strong 
as the storm. But his rider was still afraid 
— afraid of the ground to come. 

And suddenly, they were over the brow of 
the rise; suddenly, Victor saw the Vale below 


Gilbert Frankau 

i i<i 

mud-splashed to the eyes, never knew." 

— bad lands dropping terrace-like through 
patches of leafless coppice to a grey road and 
a brown, smoke-plumed village. Beyond 
these, broad as a river, gleamed the Saxen- 
ham Canal. u Steady, you fool ! For God's 
sake, steady I " roared Mustard-Pot's rider, 
shoulders back, knees iron on the saddle- 
flaps, hands iron on the curb. 

But Mustard -Pot heeded not a whit. 
Mustard-Pot saw only the hounds — the 
towling-rowling hounds that poured like a 
cascade of black -white- and- tan down the 
slope of the Vale, 

Followed incredible seconds — seconds of 
slip and slide and scramble, of plunge and 
stumble and miraculous recovery — seconds 
when it seemed to the horseman as though 
no power on earth could keep him from 
pitching yards over that enormous down- 
stretched yellow neck — seconds when head, 
neck, and shoulders reared up like a giraffe's 
before his eyes as Mustard-Pot glissaded 
fifty sheer yards on his tail — seconds when 
the loose iron-stone of the hill-side rained like 
shrapnel from their hoof -strokes — seconds 
when the tree-roots tip-tilted them at every 
bound — seconds when it seemed as though 
they left solid earth and flew, flew for dear 
life down the whistling void. 

Down Mustard-Pot went, and down, 
scrambling through ditches, scrambling over 

fences, scrambling among trees, scrambling 
his rider's heart in his mouth as a servant- 
girl scrambles eggs in a pan. 

Yet, even so, hounds gained on horse. 
Hounds made the grey road and flashed left 
along the green grass at road -side five 
hundred yards clear ahead of the pair 
plunging like a s carl et-and -yellow plummet, 
downhill. Hounds saw their fox streak dark 
across the grey road and swing away from 
the brown village just as Mustard-Pot — 
sweating at long last — crashed through the 
young larch plantation at hill - foot and 
paused for the hundredth part of an instant, 
ears cocking to the far music. 

Lomondham, his face white as his hunting- 
stock, sweat blinding his blue eyes, was too 
blown to take advantage of that momentary 
pausing ; and before he could shorten rein 
Mustard-Pot had leaped out of the plantation 
— into the road — over the road — up the bank 
and through the hedge on to ridge-and* 
furrow again. 

One minute later, Saxenham Village, 
turning out to a man, cheered one ha less 
horseman over the hedge of Farmer Thomp- 
son's paddock. Two minutes later, Saxen- 
ham Village, turning out to a boy, called, 
" Yes, sir. Yes, mlady That way, sin 
That way, mlady," to the scattered field 
who came, puunded and pounding, after 



Mustard-Pot— —Matchmaker 

him. Three minutes later, Saxenham Vil- up the slope behind, saw the dog-fox 
lage K dashing, every mother's son and lolloping red across the chocolate loam that 
daughter of it, through the churchyard and hid Farmer Thompson's winter wheat, and 

» j 

Mustard-Pot cracked on the last ounce ol his astounding speed. Beyond up the 

Origin run himself as though 

Gilbert Frankau 


howled to Naomi Braunston as she galloped 
by, " You keep to the left, missie. He's 
making for the canal." 

Taking the far hedge of the paddock, 
Victor— a little of the breath back in his 
body and a few of his wits back in his mind 
— -wondered how much longer the horse 
under him could keep on bolting. He even 
began to wonder whether the horse were 
bolting at all, Mustard-Pot, for all that he 
refused to answer the reins, seemed to know 
his business. Foam-flecked, he still went 
straight as a railway-train, Nothing stopped 
him — neither the stiie they cleared to a rap 
of steel horse -shoes on sodden plank— nor 
the double -oxer with the ditch beyond — nor 
the five -foot cut -and -laid on to the new- sown 
corn. And il God help Thompson's wheat 
to-day/' thought Lomondham, as they ha red 
across it close behind the crazy hounds. 
Then he, too, heard voices \ * J You keep to 
the left, sir. He's making for the canal/' 

Before the meaning of those voices pene- 
trated to the hat less horseman on the foam- 
flecked horse, Mustard -Pot was on turf 
again, barely a hundred yards behind the 
pack. But the pack, once off ploughland, 
had the heels of him. They ran nearly mute 

now, their sterns straight as ramrods, their 
hackles up, fury in their eyes, and fire in 
their blood, For their fox was in view. 
Their fox sank as he ran — ran gasping for 
the water they could smell when their 
blood -frantic eyes lost him. 

Lomondham, mute as the pack, watched 
the beaten fox across the tow-path, saw him 
tumble over the canal- bank ; watched 
hound after hound tumble-over after him ; 
remembered the ten-foot drop to the twenty- 
foot water— and realized in one thrilling 
spout of superhuman exaltation that all fear 
had departed from him. 

At last, at long last, the hot dashing 
courage of Mustard- Pot was into Mustard- 
Pot's rider. At last, at long last. Sir Victor 
PI o wright Lomondham of Lomondham Hall 
rode straight again— rode straight and 
whooping for the kill. " Hallo ! Hallo ! 
Hallo ! little bitches," he whooped — the reins 
loose on his horse's neck, the huntsman 
behind him and the canal before, 

And at that whoop, impossibly, incredibly, 
Mustard -Pot cracked on the last ounce of 
his astounding speed. No need to touch him 
with crop or spur ! The very ground rocked 
under his drumming hoofs. Bound on 

bank — toiled the last eager hound- Then Victor was aware o( Mustard-Pot gathering 
to clear the moon/* 

by VjC 



Mustard-Pot — Matchmaker 

gigantic bound, he hurtled at the hazard. 
The mud of the tow-path was fifty yards 
ahead — twenty — ten. Below it — still rip- 
pling to the passage of the pack — gleamed 
the brown and the desperate water. Beyond 
— up the bank — toiled the last eager hound. 
•' Yooi, yooi, yooi to him, Winsome/' 
whooped Lomondham. 

Then he was aware of Mustard-Pot 
gathering himself as though to clear the 
moon, of the tow-path dropping away, of 
brown water scurrying under, of brown 
water leaping up, of a bombshell splash that 
flung white fountains high and high above his 
drowning eyes, and of a Force, a Force enor- 
mous and earthquake-like under his thighs, 
driving him up and up through the desperate 
waters. Then the fountains subsided ; and 
Lomondham knew himself still in the saddle, 
knew his horse swimming like a sword-fish 
to be in at the death. 

Dripping steed under dripping rider scram- 
bled out of Saxenham Canal and up the far 
bank of it just in time to see what came in 
after years to be known as " Mustard-Pot's 
Fox " rolled over in the open. 


Mustard- Pot's fox had been torn and 
eaten a good ten minutes, but belated 

riders on blown horses were still clattering 
across the canal-bridges, when Lomond- 
ham — reins over bridle-arm, the water 
oozing over the tops of his boots — glanced 
up at a girl on a grey mare and remarked, 
meaningly : "I'm going to toddle home, 
Naomi. It looks to me as though Silver 
Glory's had about enough. You'd better 
come, too." 

He swung to saddle with a squelch, and 
the yellow horse — after one regretful glance 
at the blooded pack — stepped daintily away ; 
Naomi Brannston on a perfectly fit Silver 
Glory following them as obediently as a 
cavewoman her mate. 

Mustard-Pot, from whom I first had this 
tale one midsummer afternoon as he grazed 
leisurely among the fragrant grasses of 
Lomondham Park, assures me that his 
master's wife dropped her whip on the way 
home and that neither she nor Victor noticed 
it. But Silver Glory, who usually grazes 
with him, seems confident that Lomondham 
heard that whip fall from Naomi's hand just 
at the very moment she confessed, " Victor, 
you — you mustn't ride like that again. It 
frightens me." 

Silver Glory, being a grey mare, did not 


{The Third of the Series.) 
In number one time number two it* eaten. 
And as a vegetable can't be beaten. 

1. She did great service in the war. 

2. Once water, harder than the floor. 

3. In Latin this is one, less one. 

4. Gives shelter from the rain or sun. 

5. You cannot do thi», speaking truth. 

6. Colour of cheeks in healthy youth. 


Answers to Acrostic Xo. 103 should be addressed to the 
Acrostic Editir, The Strand Magazine, Southampton 
Street. Strand, London , W.C.2, and must arrive not later 
than by the first post on February 9th. 

To every light one alter native answer may be sent ; it 
should Ir written at the side. At the foot of his answer every 
Solver should write his pseudonym and nothing elm. 


This is the old-time season of Noel ; 

That brings you cheer from those who wish you well. 

1. A calling this, high-sounding, but plebeian. 

2. An epithet of darkness Tartarean. 

3. Mere blue or grey, or colour red as roses. 

4. Cut out — a custom that our state imposes. 

5. The verdant green, making the Wild West smile. 

6. Write down in Latin and curtail meanwhile. 

7. A realm that, in its centre, owns the king. 

8. T .»*-*.! unless it be a sting. EDI. 

Digitized by V^( 










ell in 





nt e r 

omi n i o 

v e r 1 as t i n 

Notes. — Light 3. Mere, a lake 
terim. 7. Central syllable, in. 


crimson lake. G. In* 

As many as eighteen solvers answered the four acrostics 
quite correctly; they will divide the prizes, each one 
receiving fourteen shillings. They are : Anvil, Mr. C. 
Dance, 45, Cowick Road, Tooting, S.W. ; Arden, Mr. R. W. 
Bates, Royal Naval College, .Dartmouth ; Beehive, Mrs. 
Eaton, 98, Ebury Street, S.W. ; Beggar, Mr. B. G. Pearte, 
5, Ethelbert Road, Bromley, Kent ; Corisande, Mis. 
Bridge^ 7, Alexandra Road, Clifton, Bristol ; Dipgy, 
Rev. M. Elrington-Bisset, 8, Chant rey House, Eecleston 
Street, S.W. ; Junius, Mr. F. C. W. Grigson, Amesbury, 
Hindhead ; Landor, Mr. H. W. Arnold, 7, Forester Road, 
Bath ; Lilcat, Miss L. Eaton, 597, Kingston Road, Raynes 
Park. S.W.20; Lobo, Mrs. L. Morns. 74, Larch Road, 
Cricklewood, N.W.2 ; Noluc, Mrs. R. M. Milne, Eggardun, 
Dartmouth, S. Devon : Phanta, Mrs. Ludlow Handeock, 
85, Chester Square, S.W. ; Rumball, Sir Alfred Croft, 
Rumleigh, Bere Alston, Devon ; Sant, Mr. W. H. Harsant, 
Tower House, Clifton Down Road, Clifton, Bristol ; 
Splosh, Mr. L. Dale, Christ's Hospital, Sussex ; Wals, Mr. 
W. Stradling, 12. Bardswell Road, Oxford ; Yoko, Mr. F. 
RawHon, 10. Richmond Mansions, Earl's Court, S.W.5 ; 
Zvme, Mr. J. W. Pulsford, 67, Deauville Road, Clapham, 
S.W 4 




orv a personal tkeme 

• ?.. £_-- 


Illustrated by Bert Thomas. 

The Fir si Time 1 Conducted, 

IT was a curious concatenation of cir- 
cumstances which led up to my 
becoming a conductor, though the 
wish was always there and I was only 
awaiting the opportunity, It arrived sooner 
than I expected— and found me unprepared. 
It all came about through that silly little 
curtain-raiser called " Did You Ring? If for 
which 1 had com- 
posed the music. 
The libretto was 
by a Mr, J. W« 
Mabson, whom I 
had met at Shef- 
field, and he got 
John Houghton 
(the editor of a 
paper called Fun, 
long since defunct 
but very well 
known at the 
time) to write the 
lyrics, Charles 
Lauri, having 
made money over 
running *' L'En- 
fant Frodigue," 
thought it would 
be a good idea 
to mount another 
play without 

I wonder how 
many of my 
readers remember 
Charles Lauri in 
the heyday of his 
popularity, H e 

*" He took my breath away by jumping from the 
lop into his seat inside. 

by ^ 


was the famous portrayer of the Cat in 
the Drury Lane pantomime ir Dick Whit- 
tington/' and perhaps no man ever imper- 
sonated so many different animals on th^ 
stage with the same consistent success. He 
was a curious-looking little fellow off the 
stage. Short, clean -shaven, thin, very plain, 
and amazingly agile. One day, when I was 
seeing him into a hansom cab, he took my 
breath away by climbing on to the wheel, 
getting on the roof t and jumping from the 

top into his seat 
inside. The whole 
thing took a few 
seconds* and I 
saw the cabman 
rubbing his eyes, 
won deiing if hv 
had lost his 
senses. He loved 
playing this sort 
of joke, but there 
was a serious side 
to his nature, and 
he was a pretty 
good business 
man, with a 
natural instinct 
for artistic things. 
His choice of 
,- L' Enfant Pro- 
digue " proved 
this, and his 
second produc- 
tion, to which I 
am now coming, 
was quite a de- 
light, although it 
was a failure 
with the public. 
It was, like its 


I2 4 

Variations on a Personal Theme 

predecessor, a play without words, entitled 
•' La Statue du Commandeur," but it lacked 
the simplicity, the charm, the pathos of 
" L'Enfant Prodigue," and the music was 
in nowise as good. It was superbly acted, 
the chief part being taken by M. Tarride, 
who, since those days, made a big repu- 
tation for himself in Paris. The piece was 
too short to fill an entire evening's bill, and, 
in any- case, curtain-raisers were all the 
fashion and were looked upon as a necessity. 
I had the very thing ready and waiting, 
so trotted off with it one Sunday afternoon 
to Charles Lauri's house in Camden Town, 
played him the music, read him the libretto, 
and he accepted it there and then for produc- 
tion at the Prince of Wales Theatre. It was 
put into rehearsal immediately, with two 
well-known artistes of that period, Templar 
Saxe and Katie James, both of whom per- 
formed it admirably. I have some sort of 
idea that the theatre conductor asked me to 
conduct the first band rehearsal of my little 
piece, and that I tried to do so and completely 
failed. But I am in no way certain of this, 
so I would prefer not to count this as the 
actual first time I had a baton in my hand. 

" Did You Ring ? " was received very well 
by the Fress. It was on this occasion that 
Punch thought fit to make the joke on my 
name which has been used since in a hundred 
different ways. " This lever -du-rideau" said 
Punch, ' is a bright and well-written sketch 
which should prove attractive. The authors, 
Messrs. Mabson and Houghton, were fortu- 
nate to Land onfionald to compose the music. " 
After a run of about three weeks, Charles 
Lauri thought he had dropped enough money 
over the two pieces, so he informed M. Tarride 
that he intended closing down. But that 
didn't fit in with Tarride's plans at all. He 
couldn't afford to return to Paris as a declared 
failure in London. Something had to be 
done. He was a man of considerable means, 
and made an offer to Charles Lauri to buy 
him out lock, stock, and barrel, and run the 
theatre himself. The terms were duly 
arranged, and Charles Lauri vanished from 
the scene. I had by this time become on 
very friendly terms with Tarride, whom I 
admired both as artiste and man, and at his 
special request I would often go down to the 
theatre and spend an hour with him in his 
dressing-room. I sauntered in on the first 
Saturday matinee given under his own 
management, and found everybody in a 
state of excitement. Not getting anything 
very coherent from the French members of 
the company, I sought out the conductor, 
who was English, and he explained to me 
what had occurred. Tarride, being entirely 
ignorant of the way we ran a theatre in this 
country, had fai J ed to provide the necessary 
cheque to pay the orchestra. It being 

Digitized by V^OOQ IC 

Saturday, the doors of the Credit Lyonnas 
were closed, and it was impossible to obtain 
the money. The members of the orchestra 
swallowed the tale with a lot of water, as 
they had been caught by foreigners before. 
Eventually, however, they were persuaded 
to play at the matinee on the condition that 
they should receive their salaries before the 
evening performance began. 

AS far as I can remember, the sum 
^■^ required was something between one 
hundred and fifty and two hundred 
pounds. Unfortunately, there wasn't twenty 
pounds in the house at the matinee. I 
took a cab to Charles Lauri's house to 
explain the position to him, only to find 
that he was somewhere in France. Tarride 
knew literally no one in London, and as the 
time approached for the evening performance 
the outlook could not have been worse. The 
meagre audience began to wander in, and 
by eight-fifteen the few dozen people present 
began to get impatient, hissing and clapping 
and showing other signs of resentment at the 
delay. The members of the orchestra stuck 
to their guns and steadfastly refused to go 
in. Eventually Templar Saxe went in front 
of the curtain and announced that owing 
to the sudden indisposition of M. Tarride the 
performance that night could not take place, 
but that all moneys would be returned on 
application at the box-office. A few boos 
and a few jeers, and the audience filed out. 
I always have thought it fortunate that 
someone had had the presence of mind to 
lock Tarride in his dressing-room, as he was 
a very powerful man, and was in such a 
state of violent anger at the behaviour of the 
orchestra that had he got anywhere near 
any one of them there would undoubtedly 
have been great damage done ! 

I bearded the lion in his den and calmed 
him down and got him to talk rationally. 
1 went with him to his hotel and we sat 
talking and planning until midnight. He 
had made up his mind to reopen the theatre 
on the Monday night, to pay off the present 
orchestra and conductor on the Monday 
morning, and not allow one of them in the 
theatre again. He insisted that I should 
in the meantime obtain another orchestra 
for him, rehearse it Monday afternoon, and 
conduct it in the evening. Although I had 
not the remotest idea where a single orches- 
tral player was to be found, and although I 
was absolutely ignorant how to beat time 
correctly, I cheerfully and willingly under- 
took the job, and thought it all the fun in 
the world. Such is the confidence of youth ! 
I announced most casually to members of 
my family, just as if it were an everyday 
occurrence, that I had been appointed '" the 
conductor of the Prince of Wales/' I was 


Landon Ronald 


asked by my 
brother whether I 
was referring to the 
pu blic-ho use in 
Harrow Road, the 
theatre in Coventry 
Street, or the son 
of Her Majesty the 
Queen. Some people 
always will be 
funny at the wrong 
moment! The thing 
that worried me was 
the fact that it was 
Sunday, which 
meant my waiting 

twenty-four hours 
before I couid get 
busy, I had duly 
settled in my own 
mind my plan of 
campaign, and sure 
enough on the 
Monday morning I 
was walking up and 
down Bond Street 
waiting for Keith 
Prows e, Ashton, 
and Hayes to open 
their respective 
doors. I had seen 
various advertise* 
jnents of these 
firms announcing 
that they could 
supply bands for 
dances and parties, so why shouldn't they 
be a hie to supply me with one for a 
theatre ? At all events, this is what I 
had hoped and believed might be ar- 
ranged I Disillusion, alas ! way quickly to 
follow, I shall never forget the expression 
on the face of the first man to whom I confided 
in a very meek voice that all I required was 
an orchestra of forty musicians to be at the 
Prince of Wales Theatre by three o'clock 
that afternoon. He looked me up and down, 
twirled his horrid waxed moustache, and 
said in an airy, sarcastic tone, i4 And are we 
to deliver the goods packed in cases or will 
you send the Royal carriages to fetch 'em ? ,r 
I pleaded with him seriously, only to elicit 
the amazing retort, J ' Ere, young fellow, 'op 
it, and don't act the giddy goat." I had 
never heard the expression before, but during 
the morning I heard many other expressions 
which were new to me, but scarcely fit for 
After obtaining two or three indefinite 
promises that I should be supplied with some 
sort of band, I wended my way to the 
theatre after lunch, to find the stage door 
entrance crowded with orchestral men holding 
instruments of every description under their 

u Hundreds of * unemployed * in the orchestral profession turned up 
on chance of obtaining an engagement/* 

arms or in their hands. It appeared that 
the whole story had spread like wild- fire 
throughout the orchestral profession, with 
the result that hundreds of '* unemployed ,p 
turned up on chance of obtaining an engage- 
ment* Entirely ignoring the fact that I had 
ordered at least three Bond Street orchestras, 
I promptly engaged forty men, who gave me 
the most wonderful testimonials of their 
respective abilities, and within half an 
hour had taken my place at the conductor's 
desk and was endeavouring to rehearse them. 
I doubt whether such weird and uncanny 
sounds have ever been heard in a theatre 
before or since. Most of the men turned out 
to be M duds/* who could neither read nor 
play, and 1, of course, could not conduct. 
I was just asking a cornet player if he would 
be so kind as to play in the same key as the 
rest of the orchestra, when a message came 
from the box-office that three orchestras 
were on their way to the theatre. This was 
unthinkable, but sure enough they came. 
The Fates were very kind to me, as they all 
proved to be Hungarians who could only 
play czardas or a rhapsody, After being 
extremely courteous to them and getting 
them bmV 6ft£l 1M) F tttettfaA M continued 


Variations on a Personal Theme 

rehearsing till half an hour before the doors 
opened, and conducted from that night till 
the end of the run of the piece. It was the 
first time I had ever held a baton, and I 
caught the fever. Awful as the orchestra 
was, awful as my conducting was, I loved it 
all. Visions of conducting great concerts 
and great orchestras floated through my 
brain, though it was many years before 
those visions were to be realized. 

And thus it was that I became a conductor. 

Accompanying at Windsor and Balmoral. 

IT was in the year 1887 that I first had 
the honour of appearing before Queen 

Victoria — if playing second fiddle in a 
students' orchestra can be called " appearing 
before Queen Victoria." I was just fourteen 
years of age, but looked somewhat younger. 
I was a student at the Royal College of 
Music, where I was studying pianoforte as 
my principal subject under Franklin Taylor ; 
violin under Henry Holmes, and afterwards 
under Mr. Gompertz ; composition under 
Sir (then Dr.) Hubert Parry ; and counter- 
point under Sir (then Dr.) Frederick Bridge. 
I had incidentally to attend lectures and 
play second violin in the orchestra under 
Sir (then Dr.) Charles Villiers Stanford. The 
students' orchestra was commanded to 
appear at Windsor at the great banquet 
which was given either on the night of the 
Jubilee or the following night. (I know for 
certain it was either one or the other, but I 
couldn t positively assert which.) I re 
member quite distinctly my great indignation 
at my dear mother, because she would insist 
on my wearing a velvet knickerbocker suit 
which, for some ungodly reason, I possessed 
at the time. We were all to leave from 
Paddington Station in a couple of third-class 
coaches attached to a special train. This 
special train turned out to be the one which 
was to take the various Royalties to Windsor 
Castle. I can still feel the thrills I ex- 
perienced when I arrived on the platform 
carrying my violin and was told by some 
fellow-student, 4 * You see that couple there ? 
Well, that's the King and Queen of Norway ! 
Just standing by them are the King and Queen 
of Denmark. And you see these three men 
grouped together ? Well, the old man is 
the Kaiser, and the man with the beard is 
the German Crown Prince (afterwards Kaiser 
Frederick), and the youngster is Prince 
Wilhelm." I remember I was quite en- 
thralled and felt very much the same as when 
I was first taken to Madame Tussaud's. 

Only two outstanding memories remain of 
what occurred at the Castle that night. The 
first is that some kind official hoisted me on his 
shoulder and let me have a peep at the great 

banqueting-hall through a tiny little window, 
and told me to be sure and have a look at 
the gold plate, which duly impressed me. 
The second is my intense nervousness and 
anxiety lest I should play a wrong note, as I 
was obsessed with the idea that Queen 
Victoria would at once detect it, and that 
I should be promptly sent to prison. 

My next appearance before Queen Victoria 
was a very different affair, but oddly enough 
it took place on the evening of her Diamond 
Jubilee (or, once again, it might have been 
the night after). Signor Tosti (as he was 
then) occupied the unofficial position of Court 
accompanist. Tosti was an extremely popu- 
lar song- writer of that epoch, and will always 
be remembered in this country by his setting 
of Whyte-Melville's lyric, " Good-bye/' which 
Melba helped to make a household word. 
He was a great favourite at Court. The 
whole of the Royal Family were attached to 
him, and Society followed suit. He and I 
were friends for years. I knew him to be a 
delightful humbug and a poseur of the first 
order ; but he had a charm and fascination 
all his own, and possessed many qualities 
that endeared him to his friends. He could 
accompany his own songs admirably, but 
otherwise his powers in this direction were 
decidedly limited. And he was clever enough 
to realize his limitations. 

Thus it came about that when Queen 
Victoria commanded Mme. Albani and 
M. Plan9on (the greatest French bass of 
modern times) to appear before her on the 
night of her Diamond Jubilee, and also 
commanded Tosti to accompany them, he 
suddenly developed rheumatism in the 
hands, and asked permission to bring me 
to play all the items excepting his own 
songs. He further promised to turn the 
pages for me ! Naturally, I was mightily 
pleased to get the opportunity, and sincerely 
grateful to him for giving it to me. I can 
see the whole scene as clearly as if it were 
yesterday. We arrived at Windsor, and a 
Royal carriage was sent for Plan£on and 
myself to take us to and from the Castle 
Hotel. Tosti and Mme. Albani were staying 
at the Castle itself. When we arrived there 
we were first ushered into a small room, and 
were then led to a large salon, where we 
found members of the Court standing about, 
with Tosti and Mme. Albani keeping near to 
the grand pianoforte. There was a sofa for 
the Queen near the piano, and a small 
table just by with a programme on it and a 
powerful pair of binocular glasses. I can 
say without fear of contradiction that we 
were all fearfully nervous. Nobody spoke 
much above a whisper, and the whole atmo- 
sphere of the room was horribly depressing 
and unnerving, 

TWW&HFV^WfiHI^M*^ before the 

Landon Ronald 


Queen entered, and then everyone seemed 
to me to be petrified. She advanced very 
slowly, walking with a stick in her right 
hand and leaning heavily on the arm of a 
stalwart Indian attendant, who seemed 
mightily proud of his job. She looked very 
much like the pictures and portraits I had 
seen of her, but was much stouter than I 
had imagined, and her expression was so 
very stern that I got the impression (a wrong 
one) that something had occurred which had 
greatly annoyed her, I must conscientiously 
admit that I was frightened to death of her, 
although I had reached man's estate ! I 
probably never accompanied quite so badly 
in my life as I did the first song or two, and 
it was only after I found her bowing very 
graciously to Plancon and smiling quite 
sweetly to Mme. Albani that I began to feel 
at all at my ease. The little concert only 
lasted about three-quarters of an hour, and 
at the end of it Mme. Albani, Plan^on, and 
Tosti were all presented to Her Majesty, who 
appeared to be most gracious and affable, 
more particularly to Mme. Albani. Some 
kind Equerry-in-Waiting noticed me stand- 
ing by the piano alone, came up, and in the 
most charming manner congratulated me on 

my accompani- 
ments, and added : 
fl I'll have you 
presented in a 
minute/' When the 


I bowed low, and wished that the earl 

Queen had finished talking to Mme. Albani, 
I saw him approach her and say something 
in a low voice. She took up the big pair of 
glasses on the table and looked at me through 
them (although I was only a few feet away) 
and nodded her head. The Equerry promptly 
came and, lightly holding my arm, duly pre- 
sented me. I bowed low, and wished that 
the earth would open. Tosti told me after- 
wards that I went as white as the proverbial 
sheet. My hopeless embarrassment was added 
to by the fact that for some unconscionable 
reason the Queen kept the opera-glasses to 
her eyes and stared at me through them ! 
I suppose she did this for about ten seconds, 
but it seemed to me ten years. It was just 
bad luck, because it was certainly not a habit 
of hers, as she had never been known to do 
it before. She thanked me for what I had 
done, and my reply was a low bow. A pause 
ensued, and I didn't know whether to retire 
or stay where I was. Another ten years 
passed, and she remarked, " Accompanying 
is a very great gift/'" which elicited another 
bow from me, Still another pause, and then 
I was unmistakably dismissed from the Royal 
presence by a very sweet smile. I had the 
good fortune to walk backwards without 
upsetting anything or anybody, and soon 
recovered my spirits under the influence of 
a delightful little s upper-party, with Lord 
Farquhar as our host. 

The next day I received an enamel and 

diamond pin as 
a souvenir of the 
event. The Vic- 
torian jewellery 
could not be com- 
pared with that 
given by King 
Edward and 
Queen Alexandra, 
or the present 
King and Queen. 
Some of these 
designs are quite 
beautiful, but the 
pins and studs 1 
had from Queen 
Victoria were all 
ponderous and 
big, and could only 
be worn on very 
special occasions. 
Still, I was very 
proud of this par- 
ticular pin, and 
am quite sure I 
should have 
adorned myself 
with it every day 
but for the fact 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

monogram V\R rp and as my initials are L.R. 
I was afraid of my friends thinking I had 
suddenly taken to wearing my own initials 
as a scarf-pin. 

This appear- 
ance at Windsor 
Castle as accom- 
panist was the 
forerunner of 
many others, 
which call for no 
special mention; 
but one experi- 
ence in connec- 
tion with a com - 
mand to appear 
at Balmoral is 
worth recount- 
ing. Others have 
given their im- 
pressions of Bal- 
moral so infi- 
nitely better 
than I could 
ever hope to do 
that it is not my 
intention to de- 
scribe what ac- 
tually occurred 
there, but just 
to narrate an 
u n forgettable 
incident on the 
way home. A 
certain well- 
known Ameri- 
can baritone, 
who was very 
popular in this 
country twenty- 
five years ago. 
had been com - 
manded to sing 
to the Queen on 
this particular 
occasion, and as 

By Bert Thomas. 

usual I had to aceom- 
He was fearfully pleased with him- 
self ; indeed, the whole affair went to his 
head, and on the return journey he bored 
me unutterably by talking of nothing else 
but of his " wonderful success," and how 
" Queen Victoria had never been Jmowm to 
lie so amiable to any other big singer or 
artiste/ 1 etc., etc., etc. ! The luncheon-hour 
arrived and we went into the dining-car, 
which was packed with people. Everything 

went smoothly till my friend was unable to 
get any potatoes with his meat* Once he 
asked, twice he asked, without any result. 

Imagine my 
horror when he 
got up and said, 
in a very loud 
voice, " Waiter, 
are you aware 
that I have just 
been singing to 
Her Majesty 
Queen Victoria, 
and that you 
have kept me 
waiting nearly 
ten minutes for 
a potato ? " 

It is well 
known that 
Queen Victoria, 
besides being 
very fond of 
music } was quite 
a good pianist 
herself. I was 
told an incident 
by one of the 
Equerries, at 
one of the many 
supper parties 
we had after a 
Royal concert, 
which I think 
worth relating. 
Queen Victoria 
had been told 
that one of her 
Ladies -in- Wait* 
ing possessed an 
extremely good 
voice and sang 
very well. She 
was asked by 
the Queen one 
evening to siog, and with fear and trembling 
she at once consented to do so, choosing 
a famous operatic aria which ended with a 
long shake. The Queen expressed her sur- 
prise that the performer never attempted 
to end the aria as it was written. Her 
Majesty turned smilingly to the performer's 
sister, who was sitting near her, and said, 
M Doesn't your sister shake, Lady X. ? " to 
which the lady promptly replied, '* Oh, yes, 
ma'am ; she is shaking all over " ? 

(To be concluded.) 

{T/ltst stiecti&*£ from Sit ?.arrt&?tt R&naiU's Remimscfnces ai 

SfottfAteM, wfa> Are skartij issuing " far/A/ians 0* 

wfdtr &i\d 





THONY, the 
solicitor, said 
Mr; Patrick 
Murphy, was one of 
them men that hasn't 
room in their heads 
for more than one idea 
at a time, Him bein' 
a solicitor, ye might think 
it was law his head was 
full of, but not a bit of it, 
Outside of his own office, 
or the Petty Sessions Court, 
law never troubled him ; he 
just passed his final exam- 
ination an* then placed the 
whole business in the hands 
of the divil. Sport was his 
weakness. In the summer 
he played tennis as if he 
made his livin' by it ; an' 
it was well for him he 
didn't, for with him bein' 
so short-sighted he stopped 
a deal more balls with the -^ ^ 

pit of his stomach than 
ever he did with his bat. But with the end 
of the good weather he dhropped the tennis 
like a hot potato an' took to the shootin'. 
An' then the coroner sharpened his pencil ; 
for when Mr. Anthony turned out a charge 
of shot on the world only an all-seein' 
Providence could tell where some of the 
pickles would come to a full-stop. 

I was standin' whettin' my scythe one 
October evenin' when Mr. Anthony comes 
into the yard. 

" Pat/' sez he, " is there any wild duck 
about that a body could shoot handy ? " 

M LashhVs of them/* sez L " Do you 
want a brace or two ? " 

' - I do/' sez he. " The fact is, Pat/' he 
goes on, *• Miss Livingston an 1 I is a bit 
friendly lately *' 

"Oh, well/' sez I, "what odds? If it 
comes to a breach of promise ye can conduct 
your own defence/' 

" I haven't ^jt the length of a promise 
yet/ 1 ses he, " let alone a breach of it." 

" What's holdin' ye ? " sez I, iH that can 
talk round a whole bench of magistrates, let 
alone an innocent slip of a girl that might be 
your daughter/' 

" You're a liar/' sez Mr, Anthony. " I'm 
not even ten years older than her + It's 
the shoo tin' is hold in' me back/' sez he. 
" She's clean death on my takin' up a 





an' I'd as soon 

single all my 

as give it up 

now that I have 

masthered it." 

" Masthered it, God 
forgive ye I " sez I to 
myself — an' then out 
loud ; " There's no 
doubt you've come on ex- 
traordinary well at it this 
last winter or two/' 

M Haven't I, Pat ? M sez 
he, all pleased, " haven't 1 
now ? D'ye mind that grouse 
I shot, last June was a 
year ? M 

" Wheesht, Mr. Anthony ! " 
sez I, 

11 I don't care a fig," sex 
he, tl Close season or no 
close season, didn't the bird 
rise up foment me an' just 
ask for it ! I never made 
a prettier shot in my life. 
•^ Hang it ; why wasn't it in 

the month of August, when 
I could ha' told people! But that's neither 
here nor there," sez be. " It's in my mind 
to shoot a couple of nice ducks an' send 
them round to Miss Livingston. If she 
had the wing and a bit of the breast of one 
of them sittin' before her on a plate she might 
think betther of my shootinV 

" Does she not think well of it as it is ? M 
sez L 

(i Well," sez Mr. Anthony, lookin* a wee 
bit foolish, -i there was an accident happened 
me one day lately when I was walkin' across 
the fields with her. A rabbit got up in 
front of us, an' I fired a bit hasty an' missed 

" Is that all ? " sez I. "She surely 
wouldn't expect even you to hit everything 
you fire at." 

11 It wasn't that/' sez Mr. Anthony, 
rubbin' his chin. " The fact is, Pat," sez hc\ 
,H I hit her dog. It was that blasted wee 
Pomeranian that goes along with its tail 
arched over its back, as if it was as proud 
of its hind end as it is of its face ; an\ of 
course, in the tail it got it. Curse the mis- 
begotten little brute; if it carried its tail 
decently out behind it like an ordinary dog 
the divil a pickle it would ha' got, an 1 I 
might even have killed the rabbit. However, 


" Dear Ducks 

" Try the marshy ground where the Bally- 
gullion river flows into the lake, 1 ' sez I. 
11 It's clean alive with ducks, an' most of 
them flappers, an' flyin' very slow." 

" Flyin' slow," sez Mr. Anthony, a bit 
vexed. " Fly in' slow, is it ? What do I 
care whether they're fly in' slow or fast ? 
You'd think I was a novice to hear you 
talkin'." An' off he goes in a huff. 

BUT about three days afther, back he 
comes again, an' not near as cocky this 

" Did she like the ducks ? " sez I. 

" I always thought this tennis play in 1 was 
bad for a man's shootin'," sez Mr. Anthony. 
" Would you believe it, Pat, but I've been 
down at the marshes these three evenin's, 
an' fired away as many cartridges as would 
fill a counsellor's wig, an' the divil a feather 
I've brought down." 

" Did ye not as much as wound somethin'?" 
sez I, chaffin' him. 

11 Well," sez he, " there was one, a drake, 
I think, that flew away very slow an' heavy 
afther I fired at him." 

" I wouldn't think much of that," sez I, 
" He might have a touch of rheumatism, 
sleepin' in the damp. You'll have to take 
another evenin' or two at them." 

" It's no good," sez he, " till I get this 
infernal tennis out of my system. Besides, 

I haven't time. There's a dinner party at 
the Livingstons' on Friday, an' I wanted the 
ducks for that." 

" Ye needn't bother your head," sez I. 
" My wife has a pair of young ones fattened 
for them." 

" Has she ? " sez he, lookin' disappointed ; 

II that's a pity. Pat," sez he, all excited, 
" would she sell them to me ? Hold your 
tongue now ; let her send word to the 
Livingstons that the rats ate them ; an' then 
I'll come along with a pair just in the nick 
of time. Don't talk to me," sez he, hoppin' 
round as the notion took hold of him ; 
" there's not a bein' about the place would 
know a wild-duck from a wather-hen barrin' 
Mr. Livingston himself, an' sure they'll be 
plucked clean naked before they get his 

" Ye've no sense, Mr. Anthony," sez I. 
''Wouldn't the very scullery • maid know 
when a bird has its throat cut instead of 
bein' shot ? " 

" So she would," sez Mr. Anthony. 
" That's awkward. Wait now," sez he. 
"I'm not beat yet. Dhrive them through 
the gap in the hedge there, one at a time, an' 
I'll shoot them as they come through. What 
about that, eh ? It's hard to get the 
betther of me, mind ye, when I lay my 
brains to a thing. Go on now an' get them. 
What are ye waitin' f or ? " 

" It's clean murdher, Mr. Anthony," sez 
I, " forbye that ye might miss them." 

" Miss them ! " sez he, " Miss them, ye 
imperent ould vagabond ! An' them walkin' ! 
Didn't ye see me bringin' down a woodcock 
in the Drumnaquirk wood only last Feb- 
ruary ? " 

" I did," sez I ; " but you were aimin' at 
a wood-pigeon at the time. However, I 
suppose I'll have to be as big a fool as your- 
self. Away an' post yourself, an' I'll bring 
the ducks. What size of shot are ye usin' ? " 

" Number three," sez he. 

" It's too big," sez I. " Ye'll damage 

" It's all I have," sez he. " I've killed 
ducks with it before.!' 

" Ye have," sez I, " an' ye killed a terrier 
dog of mine with it too. If Mr. Livingston 
breaks one of them gold teeth of his on a 
pickle of number three shot I wouldn't give 
much for your chance of marryin' his daughter. 
But have your own way. Ye'll have it any- 
way, I know." 

So off I goes and brings the two ducks, an' 
them quae kin' away as if they'd ten years 
to live. Ye'd ha' thought somebody had 
told them what sort of a shot Mr. Anthony 
was. When I came back he was on the far 
side of the gap with the gun in his hand. 

" Are ye readv now ? " sez I. " Here's 
the first of them." 

" Hold on a minit," sez he, an' I could 
tell by his voice he was flusthered. " I want 
a good steady shot. I'm goin' to lie down 
on my belly." 

" If one of them two-year-old bullocks of 
mine steps on ye ye'll get up again," sez I. 

" Bless my soull " sez I to myself, as a 
thought struck me ; an' I ran over to the 
gap an' peeped through. It was well I 
looked at Mr. Anthony first. If I hadn't 
ha' shouted I was a dead man. 

" Good heavens, Pat," sez he, lowerin' 
the gun, " I thought it was one of the ducks." 

" Ye didn't think a duck had a pair of 
nailed boots on it, did ye?" sez I. "Ye'll 
do ten years for manslaughter yet. I 
wanted to make sure the bullocks was out 
of your line of fire." 

" Will ye dhrive out them dratted ducks 
an' have done with it?" sez Mr. Anthony 
in a rage. " Ye have my nerve near ruined 
as it is." 

" Come on, then," sez I. " Blaze away ! " 

I whished the first of them through the 
gap — keepin' well to the rear myself, I may 
tell ye. There came a terrible roar of a 
report. When I run through the gap there 
was as much smoke dhriftin' down the field 
as if the kitchen chimney was on fire, an' 
Mr. Anthony rowlin' over an' over in the 
middle of it, ar/ cursin' most lamentable. 

" In the name of goodness, Mr. Anthony," 

Lynn Doyle 


r 4m r 



" There was as much smoke as if the kitchen chimney was on fire, an* Mr, Anthony 
rowlin* over an* over in the middle of it." 

sez I, " what's wrong ? Did ye shoot out 
of the wrong end of the gun ? " For troth 
he was capable of it, 

"It was you. ye oukl fool ye/' sez he, 
risin' to his feet an' rubbin* himself, rr Ye 
had me scared into thinkin' I might miss 
the beast an' I pulled the two triggers at 
the one time. My back-bone is out of joint/* 
sez he, reach in' round between his shouldher- 
blades. " But I'll go bail I killed the duck, 
anyway. 1 ' 

u Where is it, then, if ye did ? " sez I, 
lookin' all round. For there was no duck 
to be seen. 

'■ It's the most extraordinary thing/' sez 
Mr, Anthony, stickin' the eye-glass in his 
eve an' lookin' all round him, " 1*11 swear 
an' kiss the book that I hit it/' 

JL I'll tell ye what ye've done," sez I. 
" YeVe blew it to pieces/' An' that's 
what he had done. We searched up an' 

* e "Wfl^frOT^WHlSAS a al1 we ever 


"Dear Ducks" 

discovered of the same duck but the neb an' 
one of the feet. 

*' Aw, well/' sez I, at the last, " it had a 
lovely death, even if there isn't much eatin' 
about the carcass. Will I dhrive out the 
other one for ye now ? " 

" Dhrive it to blazes if ye like," sez Mr. 
Anthony, fair boilin' over. " Have ye any 
whisky about the place ? Then come an' 
rub my shoulder with some of it. An' ye 
may throw that blasted gun in the well," 
sez he, an* stalks off into the house. 

But by the time his shoulder was well 
rubbed with the whisky an' him had a good 
jorum of it in his inside, he began to come 

" Say what ye like, Pat," sez he, " it was 
a great shot. Plump in the middle I must 
ha' got that duck." 

" Ye must have," sez I, sootherin' him. 
" It was only outlying bits like the neb that 
we found. There's no doubt ye have a very 
straight eye." 

" Haven't I, Pat ? " sez he, swellin' him- 
self out. " Haven't I now ? Curse that 
tennis," sez he ; " if I had let it alone an' 
practised with the gun all summer I could 
shoot midges by now. Look here, Pat," 
sez he, " I'll send Miss Livingston that 
brace of wild duck yet. They'll be late for 
the dinner party, but what matter ? " 

" They needn't be," sez I. " Couldn't ye 
come out to-morrow evenin' to the marshes ?" 

" I can't," sez he. * 4 The Quarter Sessions 
is on. It's a pity, too, an' me shootin' the 
way I am. But I'm prosecutin' in some 
poachin' cases an' I must turn up. Look 
here, Pat," sez he, " the ducks'll be plentier 
in a week or two, won't they ? " 

•• With the first touch of frost," sez I, 
" there'll be dhroves of them." 

'Very well," sez he; "the next likely 
evenin' that ye see any plenty of ducks in the 
marshes send for me an' I'll come should 
it be rainin' conveyances an' snowin' wills. 
I've got the true knack of shootin' this time. 
Give me the neb of that duck till I show it 
to my articled clerk. Ye '11 not forget, now, 
to send me word." 

SO I promised I would not; an' clean 
forgot all about it till a fortnight 
aftherwards, when I was out myself 
lookin' for ducks with the old muzzle-loader, 
an' Big Billy Lenahan of the Hills with me. 
It was a fine frosty evenin', with just enough 
ice about to fetch the ducks to the open 
water, an' I knowed there 'd be strings of 
them comin' down the river presently. 

" Billy," sez I, " this is just the very night 
for Mr. Anthony. I must send him word." 

An' then I remembered I was makin' a 

" Let him stay at home, the wee gas-bag," 

sez Billy, with a growl. " Five pound his 
long tongue cost me at the Quarter Sessions, 
bad luck to him." 

"If ye let yourself be caught poachin', 
Billy," sez I, " ye needn't blame Mr. Anthony. 
He's prosecutin' solicitor, an' he has his duty 
to do." 

" I know he has," sez Billy, " but he needn't 
have done it that wicked. He promised me 
he wouldn't press the case; an' then he goes 
an' gets himself all blew up with his own talk; 
an' I'm fined five pound through him, the vain 
wee cockatoo. But take your time, " sez Billy. 
I'll be even with him yet." 

" Ach, don't bear malice, Billy," sez I. 
" There's no harm in Mr. Anthony." 

" There's a deal too much of the blether 
about him in a law-court," sez Billy, still 
very sore. " He's all gab and guts, like a 
young crow. But let him come. We'll 
have some fun out of him, anyway." 

So we sent one of the young Robinsons for 
Mr. Anthony, an' Billy and I went on afther 
the ducks. In about half an hour's time he 
come up behind us, an' him an almighty 
swell with a fur-lined coat an' his evening- 
dhress below it. 

" You're never goin' to shoot ducks in that 
rig, Mr. Anthony ? " sez I. 

•• I am not," sez he, " worse luck. I'm 
going out to dine at Miss Armytage's of the 
Hall. Have ye shot many ? " 

*' Half-a-dozen up till now," sez I ; " but 
they'll be coming along thicker presently." 

** Well, bad cess to it," sez Mr. Anthony, 
very savage. M An' just the evenin* I can't 
get at them. You'd think they knew they 
were safe." 

" Away home an' change your clothes." 
sez I, " an' send Miss Armytage word you're 
not well." 

44 I can't," sez he bitin' at his nails ; " no, 
hang it, I can't. Miss Livingston Ls to be 
there. 13etween you an' me, Pat," sez he, 
" I've given her a hint that I'm goin' to ask 
her a question to-night. But do you an* 
Billy go on, an' I'll walk with you. I've 
been read in' up about duck-shootin' since I 
saw you, and I might be able to give you a 
wrinkle or two." 

* 4 Come on, then," sez I, for I seen some 
very offensive expressions thremblin' on 
Billy Lenahan 's tongue. 

A couple of minutes later along comes a 
pair of ducks just barely within range, an' I 
fetched the near one down. 

" If ye'd waited till the two of them was 
in line," sez Mr. Anthony, " the one shot 
would have killed both." 

" If he could fly afther them, he could 
catch them with his hands," sez Billy, very 
sour. M It's a pity it's not you is carryin' 
the gun." 

" I iiNffrSsrw , OP L wfl?ffl^ lthon y- " Bad 

Lynn Doyle 


cess to it, I wish I was* I could shoot to- 
night, I know I could. An' look at the strings 
of ducks comin' along there, far out. Where's 
that old pair of wadin J boots I gave you, 
Pat ? If you were only out in the middle 
there you could shoot rings round 
you. Pal/' sez he, dancin' round 
with excitement, "away home for 
them, quick. Damme, I'll put 
them on an' have a shot myself. 
Run ; an K don't w T a$te a minit. 

have no great experience with a muzzle- 

" Blethers/' sez Mr. Anthony, layin 1 hold 
of the gun. " You'd think I was a beginner 
to hear you talkin'. I blew the nail oil my 


i must turn up at 
the dinner. My 
whole future life 
might depend on 
it + But I'd like 
to have a couple 
of shots before 
I commit myself 
to matrimony. 
There's no tellin* 
what effect mar- 
riage might have on my shoot- 
in*. Away with you now, 
quick/ 1 

" Ye'd betther wait till you've 
come back from the dinner, Mr. 
Anthony/' sez I. " The moon 11 
be up by then/ 1 

'* There'll be two moons up 
by then," sez Mr. Anthony. 
u Did you ever taste Miss Arm yt age's port 
wine ?— Go on an' get the boots. Gimme 
your gun an r the powder an' shot. I'll 
be loadin 1 the empty barrel while you're 

" Betther let Billy load it," sez I, " You 

" In the name of goodness, what kept ye all this time ? 
The toes is near froze off me," 

thumb with a muzzle- loader before Billy 
was born." 

11 Keep an eye on him while he's chargin' 
her." sez I to Billy in an undertone; "only 
if you're wise it'll be from behind a tree. Ill 
be tidHfr'B&SJiTeV ©f MICHH&ltNto shoot much 


"Dear Ducks" 

more than the dog." An' off I went, hot- 
foot ; for I knowed there would be fun 
before the evenin' was over. 

WHEN I got back he was sittin' on a 
stone in his stocking feet, waitin'. 
" In the name of goodness, what kept 
ye all this time ? " sez he. "The toes is near 
froze off me. An* there's not less than five 
hundhred ducks gone past us far out. Here, 
pull the boots on me, the pair of you, an* I'll 
lean on the gun." 

' If ye fill the muzzle of that gun wi' dirt, 
Mr. Anthony," sez I, '* all ye'll kill this 
evenin' 'II be a solicitor ; for the charge '11 
come through the near end of her." 

" Hang it," sez he in a splutther, " am I 
doin' that ? Wait a minit, an* I'll lean on 
the butt." 

" Well, if you think I'm goin' to pull on 
your boots with the muzzle of a loaded gun 
proddin' me in the small of the back," sez 
Billy, " you're mistaken. I'll hold him, 
Pat, an' do you pull. There you are. Away 
ye go now ; straight in front of you." 

" Where are ye sendin' the man, Billy ? " 
sez I. " Come back, Mr. Anthony. You're 
headin' right for the main dhrain, an' if ye 
go in there it's a submarine ye'll need instead 
of wadin' boots. Keep to your left. Easy 
now ; don't fire ! That's only a coot 
scutterin' along the top of the wather. 
Wade as far out as the boots '11 let ye. The 
ducks is frightened of us on the bank here." 

" Bad manners to you, anyway, with your 
main dhrain," sez he. "My nerves is all 
janglin' ! How will I know the main dhrain, 
if I come on it ? " 

" You'll know by goin* in over your ears," 
sez I. " But you're not headin' that way 

So off he moves through the wather an' 
mud, goin' very cautious. 

" Why didn't ye let him go on the way he 
was goin'," sez Billy. There'll be no 
sport with him now." 

" I never seen him go out with a gun yet 
that there wasn't sport," sez I. " He'll shoot 
somethin' he oughtn't to before he goes 
home ; take care it isn't yourself, ye black- 
hearted ruffian. Wait ; here, he's comin' 
back. What has he done now ? Listen to 
the language of him. What's wrong, Mr. 
Anthony ? " 

" It's them cursed coots," sez he. " The 
wather was just lippin' up to the top of the 
boots when a couple of them came splat- 
therin' by, makin' a wake like a steamer ; 
an' there's about two gallon of mud gone 
down the legs of my evenin' breeches. An' 
the moths has ate the seat out of the only 
spare pair I have. Curse it, anyway," sez 
he. " I may stay at home now." 

" Such nonsense," sez I. " Won't your 

feet be undher the table ? If it was your 
shirt front was round your legs you might 
be talkin'. Hurry up an' try a shot. The 
light's goin'." 

" I might as well let it alone," sez he. 
" I'm goin' to have no luck to-night. But 
I'll have a try, seein' I'm here." An' off he 
wades again. 

11 It's the first time I ever went out with 
him," sez I to Billy, " that he wasn't cock- 
sure he'd fill his game-bag with one shot. 
It's a good sign. He'll hit somethin' to- 
night, see if he doesn't. Do ye think he 
loaded that second barrel all right ? " 

" He did," sez Billy. " I kept a careful, 
eye on him. Just a fair charge he put in, 
an' no more." 

" Watch him, then, Billy," sez I, "till we 
see how he does. Juke down ! There's a 
sthring of ducks comin' between us an' 
him. He doesn't see them, the wee donkey. 
Shout to him, Billy." 

" No, don't shout," sez Billy. " There's 
some beyond him as well. Is he never goin' 
to shoot," sez he, fidgin'. I could see Billy 
was near as excited as myself. " He sees 
them," chuckles he. " Look out for fun 

Up goes Mr. Anthony's gi n to his shoulder. 
He followed the ducks with th? muzzle till 
I was near burstcd holdin' my breath. I 
could s:e him bracin' himself up as he pulled 
the trigger. 

" Now for a shower of ducks, Billy," sez I, 

There came nothing but the crack of a 

." Bad luck to it," sez I; "a miss fire. I 
knowed he wouldn't load her right. Behind 
you, Mr. Anthony 1 " I shouts, leppin' up. 
" Behind ye ! " 

He wheeled half round at the sound of my 
voice, seen the second lot of ducks, up with 
the gun again, an' fires. There was a report 
like the blastin' of a quarry. Mr. Anthony 
staggered back, recovered himself a bit, 
clawin' in the air, an' then souse down he 
went on the broad of his back, an' disap- 

" Quick, Billy," shouts I ; " follow me. 
He'll be dhrowned ! He's in the main 
dhrain ! " 

" Easy," sez Billy, quite cool, layin' hold 
of my arm. " He's fifty yards from the 
main dhrain. There he is on his feet again. 
Oh, great Christopher," sez he, beginning to 
laugh, " will ye look at him ? " 

An' troth, though I was heart sorry for 
the wee man, I could hardly keep my own 
face straight. He was just like one of them 
sea lions bobbin' up out of the tank at the 
circus, only instead of havin' a sealskin coat 
on him he was one solid mass of mud an* 
glar. He turned rojr.d a couple of times, 
gropi^j^^^^^^j^ffis hands, an* 

Lynn Doyle 


then he started 
off straight 
for the main 

" This way, 
Mr. Anthony/* 
I calls out, 
when I could 
find my voice. 
"Come this 

He started to 
come towards 
the voice, ah 
the time ppropin" 
with his hands, 
an ' wa ndherin ' 
here an' there 
as if he was 
play in* blind 
man's buff, an' 
at last he made 
the land. The 
on]y feature ye 
could make out 
in his face was 
his mouth, an' 
that only be- 
cause he kept 
an' bits ot bul- 

" What hap- 
pened to you 
at all, at all 
Mr. Anthony? " 
sez I, when we 
got him a 
sort of a way 
cleaned. ' Did 
you trip on 
anythin 1 ? J ' 

"Take me 
home/' he 
5 plutth e r 3 ; 
,H take me home 
out of this. An' 
send word to 
Miss Armytage 
that I m dyin' 

of typhoid, I will be, too, before break- 
fast time to-morrow," sez he, spittin" out 
another mouthful of mud. l There's as 
much sewage gone down my throat as 
would give typhoid to a carrion -crow. It 
was all that dratted old blunderbuss of 
yours. I can handle an ordinary fowling 
piece with anybody/* sez he, " an' well 
you know it ; but I won't und her take to 
*tand up again the kick of a field-gun. 
By heavens, it has a recoil like a howitzer. 
Take me home, I tell ye ; an 1 if ye ever 

Digitized by Lt< 



4 Take me home, take me 
he, spittin* out another 

dig that old in- 
fernal machine 
out of the marsh 
where it's lyh/ 
this minit, by this 
an" by that I'll be 
hanged for ye." 

An 1 not another 
word could we 
get out of him 
till we helped him 
into his own hall, 
ait her persuadin' 
the housekeeper 
that it was him, 

I walked down 
the road with 
Hilly thinkin' very 
hard, an' every 
now an' then 
takin' a look at 
his face, But he 
was as solemn as 
a judge. 

"Look here, 
Billy/' sez I, " Tell me the truth. Did 
Mr, Anthony put only a fair charge into 
the empty barrel of that gun ? " 

H He put a fair charge in," sez Billy. 
" The only thing I wasn't quite sure of at 
the time," sez he, backin' away from me a 
step or two, * J was whether he was puttin' it 
into the empty barrel/* 

I suppose I shouldn't ha/ done it, but 
afther a minit or so I sat down beside Billy 
an' laughed till I minded that it was my gun 
was lyin' at the bottom of the marsh, 


home out of this,' sez 
mouthful of mud." 

i3 6 

HERE IS SOMETHING NEW ! Every reader will remember 
the dramatic Green Bicycle Case. Ronald Light was found 
innocent, but the mystery remains — who shot Bella Wright ? 
The wricer of this story, after a most careful investigation, 
here puts forward, in the novel form of mingled fact 
and fiction, his theory of what actually occurred. 



The circumstances of 
this sensational trial will 
be fresh in the memory 
of all newspaper readers. 
Briefly, the facts were 
these : Late on the even- 
ing °f J u ty 5th> 1919, the 
body of a young working 
girl, Bella Wright, was 
found by a farmer lying 
beside her bicycle in a 
lonely country lane in 
Leicestershire. The 
doctor first stated that 
she had met her death 
through a fall from her 
bicycle, but the subsequent 
discovery of a dead bird 
(stated by the policeman 
to have been either a raven or a crow, ''' gorged 
with blood ") led to a re-examination of the 
girl and the discovery that she had been shot 
through the head. It was then ascertained that 
immediately prior to the tragedy the girl had 
been seen cycling in company with a young man 
riding a green bicycle. A hue and cry arose, 
lavish offers of reward were made, but no trace 
of the green bicycle or of its owner was found 
until the following February, when, by an 
extraordinary chance, parts of the bicycle, 
together with an empty revolver-holster, were 



Illustrated by 
Dra wings, ana 
taken on the spot 

recovered from the bottom 
of a canal. The manu- 
facturers ' identification 
numbers had been filed 
off, but its ownership 
was eventually traced to 
one Light, who was ar- 
rested and put on trial 
for the murder. In the 
witness-box Light ad- 
mitted he was the man 
who was last seen with 
the girl, that his were 
the cycle and holster, his 
were the cartridges found 
in the canal — cartridges 
which corresponded w th 
the picked up in 
the lane — and that he had 
thrown the bicycle and holster into the canal 
after filing off the numbers. Nevertheless, he 
affirmed that he was innocent of the girl's death. 
Pressed to explain why he maintained his long 
silence, and why he took steps to hide the cycle 
and holster, he frankly said that, fearing the 
non-acceptance of the truth of his story , he was 
at first afraid to speak ; from that he slipped 
into a policy of concealment, and had to go on 
with it. Light was acquitted, and the case was 
written off as another " Unsolved Crime." 
These are the facts. What follows is fiction. 

IT was Professor Ba yne's theory that 
all human problems were reducible to 
terms of mathematics. There were 
times when he declaimed this faith to 
his secretary in so vehement and violent a 
fashion that, had Millicent Meston been an 
ordinary secretary, she would have fled from 
his presence in terror. To the girl " her 
professor," as she described him in the 
intimate circle of her own family, had long 
ceased to be an enigma. There were 

moments when he was a veritable Caliban 
— there were times when he was a frolicsome 
Puck. This was the side of him that 
students of mathematics never saw, even 
in his lightest lectures. These were the 
occasions when Millicent realized with a 
start that he was only thirty-five. 

The Green Bicycle Case was one which at 
first glance would not seem to be susceptible 
to a mathematical solution, and yet 

" Lo ve, hate, joy, grief, pain, pleasure," 
he said one: evening, glaring up from the 

H. Trueman Humphries 


chess problem which was apparently occu- 
pying his mind, they are the logarithms 
of emotion/' 

The heavy oak table at which the pro- 
fessor was seated was bare but for the 
chessmen and board, a quire of square 
drawing-paper, and a large, bronze ash-tray. 
Around him on the walls of* his large, lofty, 
well-lit office were rows of books, from the 
massive tomes of the " Encyclopaedia Bri- 
tannica " on the lowest shelves to the thin 
format of " Bayne 's Note on the Analysis 
of Unconscious Cerebration." It was a dead 
Sahara of facts without a solitary oasis of 

Here and there about the room hung 
charts and diagrams of mysterious import, 
and in a glazed cabinet in one corner was 
piled a medley of instruments — delicate 
Ramsay scales detecting half-a-millionth of 
an ounce, a bolometer that would feel the 
heat of a candle half a mile away, a micro- 
scope, a theodolite, electroscopes, Crookes 
tubes, spectroscopes with lovely refraction 
gratings with lines too close together for the 
microscope to see — and a collection of 
poisons enough to supply individual choice 
of death to a whole Suicide Club. 

To anyone who did not understand the 
spirit of system that hid in it, the room was 
a mess of tangled disorder. But out of the 
pile of newspapers which lay on the floor 
every little detail that was useful to 
the professor would be carefully removed, 
docketed, precised, classified, and sub- 
classified, indexed and cross-indexed, and 
not until every slip was tucked away would 
that disorderly heap vanish. 

The room symbolized his orderly and 
efficient brain as much as his impetuous 
scrapping of non-essentials. Life was too 
short to be tidy so long as everything that 
served a purpose was in its effective place : 
his old, shabby coat and tousled hair 
expressed his contempt of vanity. 

A CALL had taken Millicent from the 
room. When she returned it was with 
that precipitancy which the professor 
so detested. 

" Inspector Pell, of Scotland Yard, to see 

This interruption breaking the chain of 
his reasoning, the professor spun round in 
his chair, glaring at her. 

She waited a moment, and then : — 

" Shall I show him in ? " 

" Eh ? Yes, yes," he said, testily, and 
retrieved his scattered chessmen. 

Turning again at the sound of footsteps, 
Bayne inquired of the well-set-up man who 
had entered : — 

'• Well, inspector ? " 

The man seated himself at a motion from 

the professor, glanced at the girl, and made 
no immediate reply. Divining the cause of 
his embarrassment, Bayne said : — 

This is Miss Meston, my confidential 
secretary, and, I might add, my colleague. 
She has my confidence, and may be entrusted 
with yours. ' 

The man nodded. 
To come straight to the point, the Yard 
wants your help. There have been too 
many unsolved crimes.' The newspapers 
are stunting ' 'em and crying for scalps. 
There are questions in the House. Some- 
thing has got to be done to redeem our 
prestige. But what, frankly, we don't 
know. Thought I'd look in and get your 
views about some of the crimes that've 
beaten us. There was that Green Bicycle 
case and ' 

The inspector broke off abruptly, for the 
professor's attention appeared to be riveted 
to his chess problem. Would he — could he — 
help ? 

It would have been a strange request to 
have made of a professor of mathematics 
had not Professor Bayne figured with such 
prominence in the Moat Tower and the 
Parkstone murder cases. In the latter he 
had proved to fourteen places of decimals 
that it was humanly impossible for the 
accused man to have been the person whose 
footprints were found. 

The professor, apparently without having 
listened, moved three pieces on the board. 
Then : — 

" Well ? But one at a time, please. The 
Green Bicycle case, you said ? I seem to 
remember something about it. Very un- 
usual sort of case, wasn't it ? What was the 
date of the trial ? " 

" It opened on June 9th." 

• Get my cuttings from June 9th," called 
the professor to the girl. Then to Pell he 
said : " The tragedy happened more than 
a year ago, didn't it ? " 

The inspector nodded. 

" Unfortunate. I expect many possible 
clues have disappeared by this time." 

Millicent returned to her seat, bearing a 
pile of newspaper cuttings. 

11 Read ! " commanded Bayne in his 
lordly way, and lay back comfortably in 
his chair, closing both eyes as he did so. 
For one moment only during the long read- 
ing did he move ; then he sprang forward 
in his chair and cried, sharply : — 

11 A what ? Did you say crow ' ? * Gorged ' 
with blood ? Read that paragraph again ! " 

She re-read the paragraph, and he 
chuckled : — 

" Well, well, well ! " Then : " Go on, 

plense ! " Qriqinc 

At the conclusion of the recital of this- 
absorbing narrative the professor aroused 


The Green Bicycle Case 

himself, turned to the inspector, and inter- 
rogated him : — 

** Have you been to the scene of the 
tragedy since it happened ? " 

" Yes/' 

" Have you a plan of the place ? " 

" No, but I saw the one at Headquarters." 

" Just see if you can sketch it frcm 

The man came to the table and sketched 
the plan on a sheet of the squared paper. 
The professor examined the sketch for a few 
minutes, then : — 

" Umph! Was that all ? " 

" Yes, I don't think there was anything 
else on* it." 

" No other measurements ? " 

" No, I'm sure of that." 

" This road — is it level ? " 

" No. It slopes downwards in this direc- 
tion," and the inspector inscribed an arrow, 
adding, " the girl was riding down the slope 
when she was shot." 

" Now, was Miss Wright tall or short ? " 

" I believe she was about five feet two 

" And this gate here — about how high 
was it ? " 

" I don't know. The police plan did not 
give the measurement." 

" I suppose you cannot say anything 
about the condition of the hedges here- 
abouts ? " 

" I recollect that most of them had not 
been trimmed for a long while ; some of 
them not since the beginning of the war." 

" Ah ! " 

The professor jumped up, strode to the 
bookshelves, and deposited two volumes on 
the table. These he consulted, and then for 
ten minutes engaged himself in inscribing a 
mass of figures, symbols, and diagrams on 
the back of the plan. Suddenly he turned 
to the inspector and exclaimed : — 

" All right, Inspector, I can clear this up. 
If — if, mark you — the gate's not more than 
four foot two and the right hedge is thick and 
hi?h. Now, meet me at Great Glen Station 
next Wednesday. I shall go up by the nine- 
thirty. And bring with you the tenant of 
the field to which the gate belongs. We'll 
deal with your other little worries later on." 


AS Professor Bayne alighted on the 
platform of Great Glen Station he 
was met by Inspector Pell and a 
weather-beaten farmer in fustian and heavy 
boots. After introductions the trio drove 
off behind a speedy little pony, skilfully 
handled by the inspector. 

After covering a few miles of country 
the inspector, with a " Here we are, sir ! " 
pulled up the pony, and the three dis- 

mounted from the vehicle. Leaving the 
pony to the care of the farmer, bag in hand 
the professor, accompaijied by Pell, at once 
commenced his investigations. 

" This is the gate, sir," said Pell, pointing 
to a very rickety-looking wooden gate open- 
ing into a field on the right of the lane. 

" Oh! And can you show me the exact 
spot on the gate where the blood-marks of 
a bird's feet were found — they were men- 
tioned at the trial ? " 

" Just about here, sir," answered Pell, 
placing his index finger on the top bar of the 

" About ? Wasn't the position marked ? '* 

" No ; but it was about an inch to the left 
of this knot in the timber." 

The professor took from his bag a number 
of metal pegs, each headed with a white 
disc, two inches in diameter, and drove one 
of these into the gate at the point the police- 
man had indicated. Then with a tape he 
carefully measured the height of the gate 
at that place, and uttered a grunt of satis- 
faction as he noted the measurement in a 
pocket-book, followed by a veritable trump 
of triumph as he glanced to the left of the 
gate and saw a hedge, fully nine feet high 
and eight feet wide, its untrimmed branches 
extending beyond the end of the gate. 

"It is four- two and the right thick and 
high," he chuckled. 

The inspector then indicated the position 
at which the body was found, and the 
farmer, from the pony's head, confirmed it 
with the words : " Aye, that's the place." 

Bayne noted that it was about two feet 
away from the middle of the gate. 

" And now can you show me where the 
bullet was found ? " 

" I'm afraid I cannot say exactly ," said 
Pell, a little sarcastically, " but this is within 
a foot of it," and he took up a position 
about six yards up the lane, and to the left 
of the roadway. The professor drove a 
second peg into the grass. 

" And where was the dead bird found ? " 

Again Pell gave the approximate spot, 
and a peg was planted. Then Bayne said, 
sharply : — 

" What happened to the bird ? Was it 
preserved ? " 

" No. I believe it was left on the ground." 

"It is not here now, anyway, not even 
the skeleton. I suppose it has been removed 
by a field rat," grumbled Bayne. " Never 
mind. Just help me with this tape," and 
with the aid of Inspector Pell the professor 
carefully measured the positions of the pegs 
in relation to the gate, as well as the height 
and width of the hedge, and noted the 
results in his book. 

He then fixed the theodolite on a tripod 

and s ^n^p,?^\i^f ijf^i^Rfesffj the grass b y 

;H. Trueman Humphries 


the roadside, and for five minutes studied a 
mass of numerals and diagrams which he 
inscribed in his notebook, at the end of 
which he jumped suddenly to his feet, 
looked over the gate, and ejaculated : 
"Ha! There it is !" 

Shutting his notebook with a snap, he 
said : — 

44 Hold the pony, inspector, and send the 
farmer with me/' 

Opening the gate he passed into the 
field, followed by the farmer, and walked 
up to a sheep trough which was lying in 
the grass about twenty-five yards from 
the gate. This he carefully examined and 
measured, at the same time plying the 
farmer with questions : — 

" How long had the trough been lying 
there ? Did he feed his sheep in the 
evening ? When were the hedges of the 
field last trimmed ? Was he responsible 
for trimming the hedges and repairing the 
gate ? " 

Then, again setting up the theodolite, he 
said to the farmer : — 

'• Now will you please go back to the lane 
and hold your hand up exactly over the 
indicator which you will see stuck in the 
grass ? " 

The farmer returned to the lane, took up 
the position, and raised his hand. Bayne 
took an observation, then, shouting '* All 
right, that will do," unslung his camera and 
snapped the tumbledown old gate. He 
then turned round and walked across the 
field. At the opposite side he stood for 
some minutes contemplating a light, open 
fence topped with barbed wire, then made 
a circuit of the field, paving particular 
attention to the hedges as he walked. This 
done, he returned to the waiting men. 

ON the following day the proiessor paid 
two calls in Leicester. He first visited 
one of those charming residences which 
lend distinction to the suburbs of the city, 
and after nearly an hour he emerged, disap- 
pointment written on his face, for Sir Walter 
Watson was not at home. 

His second call was at the police-station, 
where he arranged for a list of the licensed 
owners of firearms in that district to be posted 
to him. 

On the third day he spent several hours 
at Sir Walter's residence, and his persistence 
must have been rewarded, judging from the 
manner in which he blithely packed his 
traps, paid his bill, gave a generous tip to 
the porter, and strode along to the station 

One morning, about a month later, the 
postman delivered to Bayne a sealed and 
registered postal-packet, the contents of 

which occupied him for several hours. 
They were entry forms for a rifle-shooting 
competition, and each bore a number at its 
head, whilst the gaps in the typed matter 
below were filled with ink inscriptions by 
various hands. The professor carefully 
scrutinized each form, and deposited it on 
one or other of two piles, a small one to his 
right, a larger one to his left. He then 
subjected the smaller heap to a second 
scrutiny, at the same time comparing the 
entries on the forms with the items in the 
schedule which he had received from the 
police. He then picked up the four only 
which remained after this process of elimina- 
tion, studied them, muttered 4I My money's 
on No. 172," and entered the numbers in 
his notebook. Collecting these papers to- 
gether, he repacked them, attached a label, 
and called to Millicent in the adjoining room 
to bring her shorthand notebook. 

After giving orders for the dispatch of the 
parcel, he commenced to dictate : — 

* 4 The Shooting of Bella Wright. Con- 
fession " followed by a recital, the 

sensational nature of which was evidenced 
by the expression in Millicent Meston's face 
as she rapidly plied her pencil. Reaching 
the end of the confession, he turned to her 
and whimsically inquired : " And what do 
you think of that ? " 

41 You're wonderful ! " she replied. *' But 
you haven't given me the name of the 
person who fired the fatal shot. Who was 
it ? " 

He pondered for a moment, and then 
said : — 

" For the present we'll call him No. 172." 


PROBABLY in no part of England is 
the sporting spirit stronger than in 
the districts of which Leicester is the 
centre ; and in the hunting, football, or 
cricket-field no one was more popular or 
held .in higher esteem than Major the Hon. 
Sir Walter Watson, member for the Leicester 
Division. A wealthy man, an enthusiastic 
patriot, a thorough sportsman, and a generous 
benefactor of every worthy cause, it was 
small wonder that whatever " Wally " 
Watson took in hand the men of his con- 
stituency would support. 

Therefore, when the Leicester Chronicle 
announced that, in order to revive the 
waning interest in riflemanship, Major Wat- 
son had undertaken the promotion of a 
Midlanders' Bisley, the success of the enter- 
prise was a foregone conclusion, and when 
fuller particulars of the forthcoming event 
were given in the local papers and on the 
hoardings, and a windowful of magnificent 
prizes were exhibited at Harmer's Stores 
in High Street, local interest in the event 


The Green 

seriously rivalled that taken in the fortunes 
of the Leicester City football team. In 
factory and on farm the il Bisley " was the 
principal topic of conversation. 

The meeting took place on the first 
Saturday in September, and at nine o'clock 
in the morning the first batch of competitors 
arrived at the old Volunteer range. 

Satisfaction radiated from the open, 
healthy face of Major Watson as, sitting in 
the shade of his shamiana, he explained to 
Mrs. Lloyd, the Mayoress : — 

" You see, we were bound to enclose that 
■special range in order to secure the element 
of surprise which is the essential part of that 
test. We sought to reproduce the natural 
conditions under which men are called upon 
to use rifles. The competitors enter the 
enclosure one by one, and are given a 
sporting rifle. They lie down, up goes the 
screen, and they have to get in a shot at 
whatever they see moving before the screen 
drops. The test calls for expert marksman- 
ship and an instant estimation of distance. 
It also tests the quickness of the senses. 
Of course, it is hard lines on the spectators 
here that they can't see this snap-shooting, 
but if the range were exposed, competitors 
would be able to study the targets and 
-estimate the ranges beforehand, and so the 
* surprise * element would disappear/* 

ABOUT four o'clock, when the stands 
L were crowded \vith spectators and the 
relatives of the competitors, Inspector 
Pell, his jacket off and his sleeves rolled up, 
displaying arms on which were the marks of 
perspiration, oil, and soot, quietly slipped 
into the rear entrance to the enclosed range, 
deposited a tray of tea, cakes, and bread 
and butter before the coat I ess marker seated 
at; a small table to the right of the butts, 
whispering, "' Here you are* Now we s ha 'n't 
be long I " 

The man addressed lifted his eyes from 
the card upon which he was marking the 
score of a competitor standing in front of 
him, and revealed the tired features of 
Professor Rayne + 

** I sincerely hope we sha'u't/ 1 he said, 
with a yawn, as he rose and stretched him- 
self, looked again at the number at the head 
of the card in his hand, and muttered, " 171." 

*' Shall I pour out your tea ? " inquired 
the inspector, solicitously, 

There was an undercurrent of excitement 
in Bayne 's voice as he quietly said : " No, 
Pell, Not until the next one has finished/' 
Then, under his breath, he added: ** Just 
go to the back there and clean a rifle. Or, 
better still, slip behind that rifle-cabinet, 
and don't show yourself until I call \ rM 

With a puzzled face Pell retired behind 
cover, Then Bayne handed the scoring- 

can I to the waiting competitor, and 
shouted :< — 

" Next ! " 

Following this shout, through 
the door stepped a youth of about 
fourteen, dressed in a coarse, brown tweed 
suit and a soft collar. He walked in with 
the awkward diffidence of a country boy, 
met the professor's eyes with a sullen 
glance, and produced his card, 

if Number 172. By George I you have 
done well, my boy, If you keep this average 
you ought to get one of the biggest prizes/' 
said the professor, encouragingly, at which 
the boy's face brightened. He then ex- 
plained the conditions of the contest to the 
boy, warning him to focus his whole atten- 
tion in readiness for the raising of the screen, 
or he would not pick up the targets. He 
then placed four cartridges in the magazine 
of a rifle, handed the weapon to the boy, 
and said, " Get ready ! " 

As the boy stretched himself on the raised 
turf, wriggled to secure a comfortable firing 
posture, and then fixed his eyes on the white 
screen before him, the professor slipped 
quietly from his seat and sat on the floor at 
the bov's side, 

" Ready ! " 

The boy strained his eyes along the barrel, 
the professor pulled a signalling-cord, and 
up went the screen to disclose, about a 
hundred yards away, the figure of a running 

" Crack ! " a puff of smoke as the boy 
pulled the trigger, and down dropped the 
screen, A few moments after a bell rang, 
and Bayne said, " Well done, bov 1 M 

The youth smiled his gratification and 
awaited the raising of the screen, 

" Ready I M 

The youngster stiffened to a rigid pose, 
the screen was elevated, the form of a flying 
partridge arose from the grass fifty yards 

ahead ^fll^^TTOlGAN 

H. Tru eman Humphries 

i 4 i 

The truth h out, sonny ! You need not fear, but you must own up/" 

' Crack I *' a puff of smoke, and down 
came the screen. Again the bell rang. 

Another sharp command, ' l Ready ! " and 
once more the boy's body and mind centred 
on the screen, his hand gripped the ^barrel 
of the rifle, up went the screen, and two 
hundred yards away the silhouette of a deer 
sped across the field of vision. Another 
sharp "Crack!" Down came the screen, 
"Tangl" rang the bell, and the professor 
patted the bov's shoulder. 

*• Hit the next one and you win the 
Championship ! " 

For the fourth and last time the professor 
called " Ready ! " A slightly longer pause 
than before* The eyes of Bayne fastened 
to the face of the boy as he tightened his 
grip on the rifle, focused his eyes on the 
screen, straining like a hound in leash, then 
up rattled the screen — a sharp, awful shriek 

Vol. lift— WL 

of terror as the boy's grip loosened from the 
rifle, the weapon tumbled to the floor, his 
body sagged, and his hands covered his face 
to hide the horror of the view. 

Before him, seventy-six feet away, stood an 
old, broken-down gate, framed at the right by 
the hedge, and on the gate sat a black bird. 

Quietly the professor called " Pell/ J and 
then rose to his feet, bent over the youth, 
and said, gently : — 

"The truth is out, sonny ! You need not 
fear, but you must own up. You can't 
undo — that — but you can clear the character 
of a misjudged man," 

Between them they picked the boy up, 

S HE following morning as Millicent 
Meston emerged from the lift at 

PfWRaMF«G?.r° n her eye 

I 4 2 

The Green Bicycle Case 

was arrested by a newspaper scare -bill 
announcing in large red capitals : — 


Sensational Confession* 

Securing a paper, she retired to a back- 
water in the moving stream of workgoers 
and read in the emotional electric phrases of 
" Our Special Correspondent " the story of 
the " Bisley/' concluding: — 

11 By courtesy of Professor William 
Bayne I am able to 
publish the sensa- 
tional confession 
which was signed by 
the boy after his 
arrest :■ — 

" ' I confess that I 
shot Bella Wright, It 
was an accident. I 
took my father's rifle 
whilst he was away 
from home, and went 
into the fields. I en- 
tered the field where 
the accident hap- 
pened, climbing 
through a fence in the 
corner, and walked to- 
wards the gate lead- 
ing to the road, As 
I approached the gate 

I saw a black bird 
standing on the top 
bar, near to the hedge 
on the right. I crept 
up to a sheep trough 
which lay in my path, 
about twenty - five 
yards from the gate, 
lay behind it f rested 
the rifle on it, took 
careful aim, and fired. 
As I pulled the trigger 
a girl, riding a bicycle, 
passed in front of the 
fore -sight and crashed 

to the ground by the gate. Frightened, 1 

II ed back home, cleaned the rifle, and 
hung it up, I did not know that I had 
killed the girl until the next day, and I 
have since been afraid to confess/ 1J 

" The whole thing was really absurdly 
simple/' said the professor, looking nearer 
to thirty- five than she had remembered him 
looking before. " And it proves beyond 
doubt that the most abstruse of mysteries 
may be cleared up by the application of a 
little commonsense and a little trigonometry. 
The police had the truth staring them in the 
face all the time t Here it is I ' J and taking 

up one of the press-cuttings, he read : 
11 f And P.C. Hall added the gruesome fact 
that in an adjoining field was found a dead 
crow or raven that had been gorged with 
blood ! ' That piece of ' intelligence/ the 
validity of which passed unchallenged in the 
court, find the tremendous significance of 
which they missed, was the key to the 
problem, and the starting-point of my in- 

11 Had the police grasped its significance 
they would not have started on a wild-goose 
chase after a green bicycle. For what did it 

-"Iff"— ^ 

Plan showing where Bella Wright's body was found, and 

imply ? First, that a bird, with plenty of 
fond around it, would drink human blood. 
Improbable, and contrary to all known facts. 
Next, that in the very short time between 
the tragedy and its discovery the bird could 
gorge itself to death from such a meagre 
source. That, also, was impossible. Finally, 
that the effect of the ' gorging ' was so rapid 
that before the bird could move from the 
scene it fell dead ! Well, now — I ask yon. 
And from this followed the finding of the 
bullet, the hue and cry for the green bicycle, 
the arrest, confinement, and nearly the 
hanging of an innocent man ! 

H. Trueman Humphries 


paragraph I recalled the habits of the crows 
which I had observed in India. I have seen 
them gobble up Dewali flies until they could 
barely flap away. I have seen them devour 
carrion as big as themselves, but I have 
never seen a crow die from ' gorging/ and 
no naturalist has recorded such a death. 
The truth underlying this policeman's state- 
ment was clear to me. The bird had been 
shot f 

,f This point settled to my satisfaction," 
the professor went on, "I concluded that 
tf the bird and the girl had been shot at the 

both are hit with one bullet, by all the laws 
of probability that bullet was aimed at the 
smaller object ! " 

44 Yes, I see that," said Miliicent, * but 
you are assuming that the bird was 
stationary ? " 

" Assuming ! " retorted Bayne, indignantly. 
" Didn't the policeman find the bloody 
impression of a bird's feet on the gate ? " 

" Of course. I had forgotten that." 

" Such," continued Bayne, pulling at his 
pipe, " such was the conclusion that I 
arrived at from reading the printed reports 

of the trial — that Miss 

illustrating Professor Bayne's theory as to the cause of her death 

same time, then they mast have been hit by the 
same bullet. The only alternative to such a 
conclusion was that after shooting the girl 
the murderer stayed to shoot the bird, which 
obligingly posed for the bullet within a few 
minutes of the crime ! The next question 
which had to be settled was : of these two 
objects, which was the one aimed at ? The 
crow or the girl ? I won't bother you with 
the mathematics of it, but " — and he placed 
his pipe on the table and moved the large 
ash-tray to and fro behind the pipe to illus- 
trate the proposition — '• given a small 
stationary object, such as the bird, and a 
large moving object, such as the girl, if 

Wright had been acci- 
dentally killed by the 
person who shot the 
bird. But so far it 
was only a theory, a 
theory which was un- 
sound unless " — and 
he ticked off each 
point on his fingers — 
"one, the position of 
the bird on the gate 
and the position of the 
girl's head came within 
the same elevational 
line of the bullet's 
flight ; two, the girl's 
body lay between the 
gate and the place 
where the bullet was 
picked up; three, 
there was some object 
between the crow and 
the road which hid the 
girl from the person 
aiming the bullet up to 
the moment that the 
trigger was pulled; and 
four, there was some 
cogent reason for the 
presence of the culprit 
at a position in the 
field beyond the gate, 
from which the line of 
fire and of vision satis- 
fied all the foregoing 
conditions. Each and all of these conditions 
were essential to the soundness of this 
1 accident ' theory ; if but one was lacking 
the theory was unsound. 

14 At my request Pell drew from memory 
a sketch of the very inadequate plan which 
was submitted at the trial, but with one 
exception it was of little service to me. 
However, after questioning Pell on a few 
minor points, I was so far satisfied that I 
promised him an early and conclusive solu- 
tion of the problem. At the same time, I 
had a notion that I could find the culprit. 

" But," he continued, taking a charted 
paper from his bci» f I admit I was more 

The Green Bicycle Case 

A photograph of the gate by which the body waa found — taken from inside the held. 

The figure outlined in white is firing at the bird on the gate, and the further course ot 

the bullet is shown in the photograph on the opposite page. 

than a little surprised, when I saw the scene 
of the tragedy, to find there not only the four 
factors I required to establish my theory, 
but also— why, there was the trough ! " 

" The trough ! " echoed the girl, con- 
siderably mystified. 
■ What has the trough 
to do- ? " 

With his finger tracing 
each point on the draw- 
ing before him, he ex- 
plained : — 

1 This is the plan. 
Here is the gate, and 
here the crow. The gate 
you'll see is four feet two 
inches high, At the side 
of the gate, near the crow, 
is a high and thick hedge 
extending the whole 
length of the field. Here 
is the place where the 
bullet was found, on the 
opposite side of the lane 
to the gate, and a few 
yards higher up the slope. 
Now follow the dotted 
line — that is, the line of 
flight of the bullet, extended from the point 
where it was picked up, through the crow, 
and (or a distance of seventy-six feet across 

An enlargement of the portion of 

the above photograph shown in the 

white circle* 

the field — and there is the blessed sheep 
trough ! 

" Now look at the elevational sketch a 
minute. To ascertain the position oi the 
girl's head above the top line of the gate 1 
was obliged to take 
various factors into con- 
sideration — her height, 
the machine she was 
riding, the fact that she 
was riding down a slope 
with the wind behind 
her, and would therefore 
most probably be sitting 
hack in the saddle with 
head held up. All these 
points were involved. 
The position of the crow 
was settled more easily. 
The next step was 
to trace the course of the 
bullet backwards from 
the two points of contact 
which 1 had established 
to the beginning of its 
flight, This was fairly 
easy, because, as you 
see, the course of the 
bullet from the crow to the girl was an 
upward one^'i^q^i^fpej^fe the two objects 

were flhiftfefif^^ttffl(ftil ,,e tTaverse: 

H P Trueman Humphries 


had it been downwards, then the bullet 
would have come from a long distance. As 
it was, it was a matter of a few moments to 
figure out that the bullet had travelled only 
about seventy-six feet when it hit the crow, 
and, don't you see — we are back to that 
sheep trough again ! Now, is that clear ? " 

She nodded. 

- * I would also ask you to note that the 
line of fire so reconstructed is exactly the 
one at which the approach of the girl is 
entirely obscured by the hedge / " 

** Why, of course ! " gasped Millicent, 

** So now you see that my introduction of 
the trough into the- confession was done on 
something safer than guesswork ? " 

M Yes/ 1 she conceded. " But how did you 
surmise that the boy had entered the field 
through the open fence ? " 

'* Look at the position of it ! It is almost 
in direct line with the trough and the gate I 
After settling the point from which the 
weapon was fired » I said to myself, ' Now, 
what brought the culprit to this trough ? ' 
and, turning round — why, there was the 
fence ! " 

" Just one more point, professor. How 
could you deduce that the culprit was a boy ? 
Surely that was a guess, at any rate ? " 

l- Guess ! " the professor roared, perhaps 
too forcibly. "No, woman I Just common- 
sense ! To lie on the grass behind a sheep 

trough and shoot at a sitting bird, to waste 
ammunition on a useless object and fire 
across a public thoroughfare to the danger 
of human life, was obviously the action of 
a young and thoughtless boy. Also/ 1 he 
supplemented, M I remembered that the 
accident happened on a Saturday evening, 
when the grown-ups of those villages make 
their weekly pilgrimage to Leicester. 

"For the rest/' he went on, " the strategy 

I adopted to force a confession The 

story is soon told. Realizing that some 
very great inducement would be necessary 
to lure the culprit into the open, I persuaded 
Sir William Watson to promote the * Bisley ' 
and introduce the snap-shooting test. I 
baited the trap with irresistible prizes, and 
framed a handicap that was particularly 
favourable to the youngsters. The gate I 
used for the target was a copy of the real 
gate, which I had made from a photograph I 
took — one gate looks very much like another 
— and the real terrorizer was the stiff bird 
on top. Before the meeting all the entry- 
forms, which gave names, addresses, and 
ages, were submitted to me. I had no 
difficulty in parting the men from the boys, 
and by comparing the latter with a list of 
the licensed owners of firearms within a 
four-mile radius of Great Glen, I eliminated 
all the competitors but four — -and competitor 
No. 173 was one of those four ! " 

A photograph of the scene of the tragedy, to which is added an outline of Bella 
Wright on her bicycle. The white line indicates the course of the bullet after hitting 

the bird shown on the gate, 


I j.6 







SOMETIMES, when I am sitting in an 
easy chair, with only a cigar and my 
thoughts for companions, I am re- 
minded of a little magical problem 
that 1 have often tried to solve. 

I want to do on the stage just what I am 
then doing in my study, but p of course, 
something else is to happen. The trick will 
really be^tn - if ever I succeed in solving this 
puzzle — when the smoke from my cigar 
collects in a little cloud and remains a few 
feet above my head. And as I sit there, 
smoking and trying to convince the audience 
that I am thinking, the little cloud of smoke 
will drift slightly and, in moving, will 
gradually form itself into a kind of *' smoke 
statue yi of a woman. The smoke will 
slowly disperse, and the audience will then 
see a woman floating in mid -air ; she will 
show by her expression and movements of 
the hanrls and head that she is a living being, 
When the audience have been convinced 
that the woman is really a living being I 
shall put down my ci^ar, stand up, and look 
rather incredulously at the figure for a few 
seconds. The figure will then dissolve into 
a cloud of smoke which will disperse and 
disappear altogether. I shall return to my 
easy chair and my cigar, and the curtain will 
fail slowly. 

This is not an " impossible M illusion by 
any means, but I have not yet hit upon a 
method which appeals to me. 

This illusion reminds me of another which 
is rather more difficult, I imagine that 
everyone has seen the illusion in which a 
woman, reclining on a couch on the stage, 
floats away from the couch and up above 
the head of the performer. The magician 
passes a solid hoop over the figure to prove 
that the woman is quite isolated (and, in 
passing, 1 may say that the hoop is exactly 
what it is claimed to be— a solid steel hoop). 
After a few moments the figure slowly sinks 
down again to the couch. 

This is a very effective illusion, but just a 
little hackneyed nowadays, I have always 
thought, however, that the fact that the 
illusion was presented entirely on the stage 
seemed to rob it of some of its effect. How 
'much tetter it would be, I think, if the 
figure, after rising in mid -air, slowly floated 
away from the sta«e and passed over the 
heads of the audience and returned to the 

Here,. again, we have an illusion which is 
not impossible, but I have not yet discovered 
a way out of certain difficulties. 

An illusion or trick which seems to be very 
complicated is not always the most difficult 
for the performer ; on the other hand a 
plain, apparently simple little trick, can be 
very bothersome. 

Here is an idea which was given to me by 
a pupil of mine, It seems simple enough, but 
though I have known of it for years I havn 

The little cloud of smoke from my cigar 

1 smoke statue * 


David Devant 


not been able to find a good way ol doing the 

The conjurer borrows half a crown, opens 
his right hand, shows that he has nothing in 
the hand, places the half-crown on the palm, 
and closes the hand. He then addresses the 
owner of the money : — 

4i You can have various kinds of change 
for half a crown. What change would you 
like ? " 

We will suppose that the reply is : " Two 
separate shillings and a sixpence." The 
conjurer immediately opens his hand and 
shows two separate shillings and a sixpence. 

If the conjurer knew that he was going to 
be asked for that change the trick would be 
fairly easy, but that is not the trick. The 
performer has to be ready to gi% + e any change 
in silver without 
opening his hand 
until the end of 
the trick. My 
pupil kindly sug- 
gested that to 
make the trick 
"really difficult" 
we ought to al- 
low the owner of 
the half - crow 31 

will gradually form itself into a 
of a woman." 

cind of 

to choose part of his change or all of it in 
coppers, but I gave an emphatic " No " to 
that idea* Imagine what would happen ii 
some sweet child of nine, after a little calcu- 
lation, prompted the owner of the money to 
ask for a hundred and twenty farthings I 
No, the trick is quite difficult enough if you 
limit the choice to silver, and partly because 
it is difficult it remains among the tricks I 
want to do. 

Here is another little effect wliich seems 
absurdly simple — till you try to do it. 

The conjurer has a blotting-pad, some 
paper, pens, and ink. He asks someone to 
come up to his table, select a pen, and write 
anything he pleases in ink. The conjurer 
holds the paper so that everyone in the 
audience can see it, and asks his volunteer 

assistant to hold the 

blotting-pad in a simi- 
lar position. The con- 
jurer then blots the 
writing on the pad, 
but when he removes 
the paper the audience 
see that the writing on 
the blotting-paper is 
not reversed — as, of 
course, it should be. 
It seems to me that 
the only way of doing 
this would be by 
secretly detaching the 
sheet of blotting-paper 
from the pad and turn- 
ing it over, but how to 
ilo this without letting 
the audience see you 
do it — to say nothing 
of the assistant who is 
holding the blotting- 
pad— is beyond me at 
present. The trick ap- 
peals to me because it 
is quite different from 
any other trick with 
w T hich I am acquainted. 
Let us return to the 
big stage for a moment , 
I come on with a magic 
wand (I have never 
used one) and a small 
handkerchief. I place the handker- 
chief on the end of the wand and 
start to twirl it round. The hand- 
kerchief spins on the end of the 
wand. The audience see that the handker- 
chief gets larger and larger until finally it 
becomes a huge sheet, practically concealing 
me from the audience, although the very 
sharp people in the front rows of the stalls 
will notice that my. feet are still on the stage, 
Somebody tires a pistol ; there is a crash 
of c>J^(ii^:^cTiti CtFetolncH^frN ; the revolving 



Tricks I Should Like To Do 

sheet disappears in a flash, disclosing four 
swing-boats. The audience then see that 
the wand which I used in the first place is 
now a stout rod of iron and serves as the axis 
on which the four swing-boats revolve. 
There are to be two persons in each boat 
and the whole structure is to be brilliantly 

I once worked this out — on paper — and I 
believe my scheme would answer, but there 
are two difficulties which I cannot get over. 
The expense of making the apparatus would 
be small in comparison with the expense of 
carrying it about the country and paying 
the small army of assistants who would be 
required to work it. The other difficulty is 
the time which would be occupied in setting 
and striking the illusion ; that difficulty is 
insuperable unless you make the illusion the 
first item on the programme, and I should 
strongly object to that idea. 

I once mentioned this idea to a pupil of 
mine. He suggested that for the first little 
effect — spinning the handkerchief on the end 
of the wand — I might have a pin on the wand 
— just to make it easy. I thanked him and 
asked him to continue with his solution. 
The handkerchief is to get bigger while it is 
in motion. . . . He is still thinking about it. 
And, as a matter of fact, that is the chief 
difficulty in working out the illusion. 

ANOTHER pretty illusion which I want to 
^-\ do is down in my note-book as " The 
Bubble." A large bubble floats on the 
stage ; if you think this would be too easy 
you can begin by blowing the bubble from a 
pipe. After a few moments the audience 
see the picture of a woman on the bubble, 
which sinks down on to the table and 
bursts, disclosing the woman standing on the 

This is rather a "' teaser," and so is the 

The woman is dressed in a plain white 
frock. At my suggestion she walks down to 
the audience, and two or three ladies are 
asked to inspect her white dress and to 
satisfy themselves that there is no trickery 
about it. 

The woman returns to the stage and lies 
on a couch. I then ask the audience to name 
any of the colours which they saw on the 
bubble — in short, any colour they like. I 
ask them to watch the white dress on my 
assistant ; the dress slowly becomes dyed 
with the colour the audience have chosen, 
and to satisfy the audience that the effect is 
not produced by coloured lights the assistant 
walks down to the auditorium again. 

Quite a pretty illusion — if I could 

Among the little trie™* nrant t 
entirely new card trft* 
ghost of an idea of J| 

know is that it must be different from the 
usual card trick. 

And I have not got very far with another 
little trick. I want to borrow some rings — 
ordinary finger rings — from members of the 
audience and put them in a glass, take them 
out of the glass and show them all linked 
together. Then they are to be unlinked and 
returned to their owners. 

Here is a little idea which forms part of a 
trick. I have not yet decided on the com- 
plete effect, but, roughly, this is the part 
which forms the stumbling-block at present. 

In the course of the trick I have to use an 
empty cup. A cup is on the table and in the 
centre of the table there is a tall glass vase. 
When I am about to use the cup I pretend 
to be surprised to find that it is full of water. 
I pour the water into the vase and put the 
cup down again. Later on I want to use 
" this empty cup," but it is not empty ; it 
is again full of water, although there is 
apparently no way of getting water into the 
cup except by pouring it in in the usual way. 
I empty the cup into the vase and start the 
trick again, and again I find the cup full of 
water, which I pour into the vase. The effect 
is repeated for just as long as the audience 
will stand it — or until the vase is full of 
water. Finally, I decide that I will do the 
trick some other way, and I call an assistant 
and ask him to clear away the things from 
the table, but just as he is about to pick the 
things uy they clear themselves away by — 
and there my notes stop. 

The most difficult trick is not always the 
most effective. I think the following would 
be difficult and not very effective because 
the end would be too long. 

I have a number of cards about the size of 
a double sheet of note-paper and some blue 
pencils. I also have a very large letter file, 
which I hand out to anyone in the audience 
for a moment, so that everyone may be con- 
vinced that the file is empty. 

I then ask several members of -the audience 
to write any one letter of the alphabet on 
each of the large cards, using the blue pencils 
for the purpose so that the audience may see 
the letters. I then take the cards, cover 
them with a handkerchief for a moment, and 
cause them to disappear. I go to the letter 
case, and the cards are found in their right 
places there. 

After the first card had been shown the 
audience would naturally guess that all the 
other cards were in their right places, and so 
you would have a wearisome repetition of 
the same effect, and for that reason the trick, 
which would be very difficult, does not quite 
please me. At the same time I want to do 

because I feel sure that when once I had 

[On the t n+Jfbld! the rigM method I should 
tig the Iriclr to a suddt n 

David Devant 


rlimax. In thinking out a trick you gener- 
ally find that it is something like a jig -saw 
puzzle. When you have got two little bits 
done you generally see a way of joining them 
and making them one big bit, and then the 
rest comes to you . 

I was asked some weeks ago how I could 
make a two-legged man appear effectively 
as a one-legged man in a play. This is not a 
trick which I particularly want to do myself, 
but it reminded me of one which suggested 
itself to me by my seeing a very handsome 
tiger-skin rug in the house of 
a friend. I said to him :— 

■; Wouldn't it be a fine 
trick if I could just pick 
up this rug, give it a 
shake, and produce 
a real, live tiger ! *' 

My friend paid mc 
a compliment. He 
said : — 

" Fine trick— very 
fine. Would you mind 
waiting till I get to the 
cellar ? " 

Every schoolboy has 
seen the trick of taking 
a cannon-ball out of a 
hat I have often said 
to myself when I have 
been doing this trick— it 
forms part of another trick of 
mine—" Why am I doing this ? 
Why am I taking a cannon ball 
out of a hat ? Why not out 
something else ? " So — — 

I take a large sheet of stiff paper, 
twist it into a cone-shaped bag, and 
produce a large silver ball, completely 
filling the bag. I take it out and it 
drops on the stage ; it is obviously 
quite solid. I repeat the effect many 
times, until there is a pile of solid 
balls (not solid silver !) on the stage, 
all produced from the paper bag. At 
the end I untwist the bag and show 
the plain sheet of paper a^ain. 

An exceptionally good or- 
chestra at a music-hall un- 
consciously suggested an illu- 
sion to me, I was waiting 
for the curtain 
to rise one even- 
ing and thinking 
that my opening 
music seemed to 
be much better 
than usual when 
it occurred to me 
I might make 
a different en- 
trance alto- 
gether. I would 

ir I take a sheet of stiff paper, twist it inta a come- 

dispense with all music, would do without the 
customary ■' chord on." When I was in the 
middle of the stage I would apologize for the 
absence of the band and ask an assistant if 
he had seen the lost band, The assistant 
would replv by handing me a large box. 
" What is that ? " 
" A bandbox, sir/' 

'"Oh, I see— a band in a bandbox — little 
joke, eh ? " 

But it would not be a meaning- 
less joke because 1 should take oft 
the lid, and out would come the 
missing band in a procession, with 
their music and music stands, all of. 
them ready to take their places in 
the orchestra, even down to — or 
up to — the player of the double- 
ba^s. I imagine that his instru- 
ment would give me some little 
trouble, but I am sure it would 
be worth while. I should have 
an illusion which people would 
wish to see more than once, 
. Of all the illusions which 
I ever feel I should much 
like to do I think my 
favourite is one which was 
suggested to me by hearing 
of a dream within a 
dream ; a man dreamt that 
he was dreaming, I wish 
to present an illusion — or, 
rather, a series of tricks 
and illusions — which will 
serve as a kind* of frame 
for my customary per> 

The thing would be- 
gin in this way. I 
come on to a bare stage — no dra- 
peries, no furniture, no '* props JJ of 
any kind. I produce — well, we will 
say a small handkerchief. From the 
handkerchief 1 produce a small table, 
More handkerchiefs are magically 
produced, and I begin my regular 
performance with some handker- 
chief tricks. When they are 
oxer I produce from the hand- 
kerchiefs all the materials I 
require for the next trick, 
and so I go on 
until I come to 
*\ my largest ill 11- 
Hl sions — bulky 
things which are 
not easily pushed 
about the stage 
by a couple of 
men, The mate- 
rials for each 
separate trick 

shaped bag, and produce a ^[^I^^FT'M^MICHIG*.^ illusion 


Tricks I Should Like To Do 

w o u M b e 
magically pro- 
duced just 
when they were 
wanted, and 
after they had 
been used they 
would be trans- 
ported in a g i- 
cally to a table 
at the back of 
the stage. I 
would not have 
a visible assist- 
ant at any 
time during the 
pe r f ormance, 
and at the end I would 
have all the things I had 
used grouped at the back 
of the stage. After all, 
when one comes to think of 
it, is it not absurd that a 
magician who is apparently 
able to do wonderful things 
with cannon balls, rabbits, 
and human assistants should, \ 

have to have the apparatus used in each trick 

carried off in the usual way when the trick 

is over ? Surely a real magician should be 

able to say to his table and the things 

upon it : ' IVe done with you, thank you ; 

please go away : run along now/' 

And then the table ought to obey, and 
another, laden with the apparatus, all 
magically produced, 1 ! for the next trick, 
should take its place. That would be 
an ideal way for pesenting a con- 
juring performance, but I fear that 
it is never likely to be my way, 

A friend to whom I have 
shown this article kindly sug- 
gests that at the conclusion of 
the performance all the appa 
rat us and " props " I have 
used should disappear, leaving 
rne ± as I started, standing on 
a bare stage. Perhaps when 
I know how to begin 
a performance of this 
kind I may discover a 
really good way of bring- 
ing it to that 

1 should take off the lid of the bandbox, ancf out would 

come lhe W*t\Wffllffl&N 



go along in life. 

so seldom a 
real virtue 
that one scarcely need 
talk about it as a 
virtue at all. It is 
more a luxury, an in- 
dulgence, than anything 
else. There are num- 
bers who pay a price 
for it, and it is to be 
found in as many 
varieties of pattern and 
quality as the very latest 
of linoleums ; what is 
more, it is just as cold 
to the feet. 

There are some to 
whom it is bequeathed 
■ — an inheritance. There 
are some — the great 
majority — who acquire 
it by purchase as they 
Just like linoleum, it is a covering for the 
bare f>oards of the common daily round of 
existence, and nowadays can be made to 
look so much like the real tiling, like real 
marble or elaborate tiling, as would need a 
("atesby out of the Tottenham Court Road 
or an expert on the board for the protection 
of public morals to tell the difference. 

My story is not concerned with those to 
whom it is bequeathed as a legacy. Long 
generations of habit have made it more than 
a mere linoleum over those bare boards 
which compose the rloor of every house. 
To them, it is a carpet of rich velvet pile 
upon winch footsteps fall noiselessly and 
people walk, ami in ami, all unconsciously 
every night in evening-dress to dinner. 

My story is not with this kind of respect- 
ability. My story favours the linoleum 
variety, the stuff you can buy in any furnish- 
ing shop in the Tottenham Court Road T the 
stuff yon can cut with a blunt kitchen knife 
t \m\ which is in common use everywhere. 

There is a lot of human nature about that 
kind of respectability. After long wearing 
the joints of the boards usually show through. 
But when just laid down, and if of a sub- 
stantial quality, it can look exactly like red 
brick tiling, or oak parquet, or even marble, 




as though one were 
living in an Alma 
Tadcma picture. 

This is the kind of 
respectability that 
interests me most of 
all, and it is in use 
in nine-tenths of the 
houses in England. 
People who raise loud 
voice? in protest against 
an improper scene in an 
improper play walk over 
their linoleum at home 
with bare feet, and 
would assure yon that 
they never feel the cold. 
People who go boldly to 
sec that improper scene 
in that improper play, 
and are amongst those 
who contribute to the 
prod igious hiring oi 
opera-glasses from the attendants, lay down 
a parquet linoleum in their dining-rooms 
and, with a mot! em copy of an old piece of 
furniture, would lead you to think it was 
real oak parquet, if you did not know any 

I believe machinery has more to do with 
this aped respectability than any of us 
realize, I believe that just as machinery has 
spoiled our love of work, so it has really 
spoiled our love of life ; that just as it 
has created a market for imitation, so it 
has introduced into daily life a certain 
falseness, a certain quality of pretence that 
has become almost a vice with nearly every 
one of us. 

I don't think I could live with a cheap 
reproduction of the Venus de Milo without 
getting a cheap conception of the beauty of 
life. I don't think I could play the pianola 
for long without getting a mechanical con- 
ception of music. I don't believe 1 could be 
respectable for many years without getting 
a lopsided conception of what was really 
right or wrong. 

Before steam dro%*e the first wheel round, 
it se.ems to me that people must have acted 
much more upon the dictates of their real 
conscience. But now, respectability, together 

Vith tmfrra TOmnfirf* the factorief! ■ 


Creatures of Habit 

and our floor boards are covered with it 
rather than the real material woven out of 
the warp and the weft of life. 

THE person of Miss Constantia Martingale 
is a case in point. By reason of the 
revenue coming in from the possession 
of certain house property in the West-end of 
London, she was able to afford the luxury of 
respectability in one of the most respectable 
sideroads off the Brixton Road. 

From the front, No. 15 presented all 
those unmistakable signs of starched and 
ironed propriety which are to be found 
expressed in stiff lace curtains, in the eternal 
aspidistra standing in a glazed earthenware 
pot in the front window, its leaves just 
appearing through the space between the 
curtains. The brass bell-handle was always 
carefully polished, the steps were always 
scrupulously white and clean. If there were 
any sounds of music on Sunday, they were 
those of Miss Constantia playing one or the 
other of two hymn tunes she knew on an 
ancient upright Collard and Collard piano 
from which you heard the sound of the 
hammers striking, as well as the metallic 
vibrations of the strings. 

And at the back, although Miss Constantia 
was no gardener, the little square of grass 
with its surrounding laurel bushes was 
religiously in order. A man from the 
neighbourhood came once a fortnight for 
two hours and attended to it. 

In Morpeth Road, Brixton, Miss Constantia 
Martingale was considered as respectable as 
any of the twenty-five respectable families 
which gave those places of residence an 
atmosphere dear to the adherents of the cult 
of the aspidistra. Those lace curtains, that 
polished bell-knob, even the two hymn tunes, 
and certainly that Sunday attendance of 
divine worship in her best apparel, had 
become so close a habit in the life of Miss 
Constantia Martingale that to have deprived 
her of them would have been to bring the 
whole world in dust and debris about her 

They were not, however, the complete 
habits of her life. One other she had which, 
if the truth be admitted, would have wrought 
by its absence as violent a cataclysm in her 
life as the destruction ot that atmosphere in 
Morpeth Road. 

Once every quarter it was her invariable 
habit to go up to the West-end to collect her 
rents. She did this from motives of economy. 
Long ago she had argued it all out satisfac- 
torily to herself that it was foolish of her to 
pay a percentage out of her livelihood to a 
solicitor for collecting her rents when she 
could quite easily do the business herself. 
One day out of every quarter of the year 
was not so very considerable an amount of 

time lost, from the desirable atmosphere of 
Morpeth Road. 

The rents to be collected were nearly all 
from shops and close together — Nos. 15 
to 21, all in one street. She had only 
to walk from one to another, with her black 
silk bag on her arm, as though she were a 
customer out purchasing her necessities for 
the day. 

They were very polite to her. Un- 
doubtedly they recognized her respectability. 
Never once in all the time she had collected 
these rents had she been met with discourtesy 
or incivility. 

11 Here's the landlord/' they said amongst 
themselves, when they saw her arrive 
punctually every quarter-day, but to her 
face they always called her Miss Martingale. • 

She took her little sums of money ; care- 
fully she put each one in her black silk bag, 
and she went away, not to be seen again by 
them until the next quarter-day. Vaguely 
they knew she lived in Brixton. Some of 
them had her address when the occasion 
of repairs necessitated their writing to 
her. None had ever had the curiosity to go 
down and see No. 15, Morpeth Road, or 
they would have realized how accurate their 
estimation of her respectability had been. 

She went away, right out of that district, 
generally on foot, and, it usually being then 
about three in the afternoon, she made her 
way to one of those small confectioners 1 shops 
where they supplement their trade in bread 
and pastries and cakes with the service of 
lunch or tea, with no pretensions of aspiring 
to the functions of a restaurant. 

Seated at a table there in a back part of 
the shop, where almost invariably she was 
alone, Miss Martingale ordered two ham 
sandwiches and a glass of port. It was cheap 
port, immature, sweet, and strong. To 
expect any other class of wine in a pastry- 
cook's is ill-advised. But Miss Martingale 
was blind to vintage qualities. She liked the 
pastry -cook's port because it was so sweet 
and so strong. 

And while she consumed this refreshment 
she laid the black silk bag on the table, with 
the help of a little notebook checking off the 
various amounts of her rents and counting 
them for the second time that day. 

For some time after the two sandwiches 
and the glass of port were consumed she was 
still at work. Finance was not a strong 
point with her. Over and over again her 
calculations proved incorrect. There were 
division and multiplication and addition all 
to be done, and her fingers played on the 
American oilcloth-covered table, lending 
assistance to her efforts until they ached. 

It was the most natural sequence of events 
that, while in the throes of these calculations, 

5hes WEMV8rttor tF " rt - K 

E. Temple Thurston 


It was the most natural sequence of events that, while in the throes of these calculations, 

d. Aould «d» „d» 8 ^,feft 0FM | CH | GAN 


Creatures of Habit 

hel})ed her to the completion of her work. 
She felt the fire of it tingling in her blood. 
It seemed to make her brain so clear, alert, 
and vigorous that addition, multiplication, 
and division became almost cliild's play to 
her quickened perceptions. 

" I don't think I could manage it without 
my second glass, 1 ' she often said to the 
waitress who attended to her ; and no doubt 
it was true. The trouble lay in the fact 
that not only did it assist her in her mathe- 
matical calculations, but left in its wake a 
subtly enjoyable feeling of lassitude : a 
feeling that those back premises of the 
pastry-cook's shop were the most pleasant 
she had ever known ; a feeling that it would 
be a happy circumstance to stay there for a 
very long time ; that there was nothing in 
the world so serious as to really matter one 
way or another ; that No. 15, Morpeth 
Road, nice, quiet, respectable though it was, 
was a little dull compared with this, and that, 
viewed through a mist of lassitude, it seemed 
very far away. 

Always for some little while she pondered 
over these pleasant feelings ; fingered her 
empty glass again and again, but always in 
the end she beckoned to the waitress, and 
invariably, as though it were a decision not 
completely arrived at, she said : — 

11 I think I might have another glass of 

ONCE every quarter, before a certain 
magistrate in one of the many police- 
courts existing in the metropolis, they 
bring a certain elderly spinster lady, who, 
sitting on some pavement or gloriously dis- 
porting herself in some doorway, has been 
found intoxicated and incapable. She never 
makes any disturbance. Though it may be 
with difficulty, it is with no wilful obstruction 
on her part that the policeman conveys her to 
the police-station where she spends the night. 

11 Whatever the old lady docs," said one 
of the officers on one occasion, ' she seems 
to do it respectably." 

For the first three occasions she took it 
sorely indeed when she found where she was 
in the morning. She begged them with tears 
rolling heavily down her cheeks to keep it 
out of the papers. 

The\ laughed at her. 

44 One 'ud think you was the wife of a 
Cabinet Minister," they said. 4I There are 
thirty other cases like yours this morning." 

M But, you see, I live in Morpeth Road, 
Brixton," she explained through her tears. 
" If they knew there, I don't know what 
would happen ! " 

41 Wait till you move to Carlton 'Ouse 
Terrace, missis," she was told. 4 * Then you 
can begin to fret about it." 

Digitized by GOOgle 

She gave her excuses, still through her 
tears, to the magistrate. He just had time 
to listen to what she said, nodding his head 
in quick comprehension. 

44 Collecting rents — what you might call a 
sudden rush of money to the head. Five 
shillings. Next." 

It was cursory — it was abrupt. On con- 
sideration she was grateful for that. It drew 
ho attention to her case. But very possibly 
it had the effect of belittling the enormity of 
it in her mind. She said to herself as she 
went home : — 

44 Thev wouldn't take it like that in 
Morpeth Road." 

Two or three quarters later, when she 
appeared for the second time, the magistrate 
looked at her sharply. 

4 ' Sorry to see you again," said he. 
" Rents ? " 

" Yes," she replied, only whimpering this 

" Sch ! Sch ! Sch ! Five shillings. Next/* 

The third time, he just said, " Rents ? " 

And so every quarter it became the habit 
of that court to try Miss Constantia Martin- 
gale for drunkenness and incapability, and 
every quarter-day, when she left No. 15 
in the morning, it had become her habit 
to say to her maid : — 

" I shall stay with a friend of mine in 
London to-night." 

And then one day, between the Michaelmas 
and the Christmas quarter, to his consider- 
able astonishment, the magistrate saw Miss 
Constantia Martingale before him. 

" You ? "said he. 

She bent her head. 

44 But rents are not due in November. 
What's happened ? " 

" I came up," said she, tremulously,^ 4 to 
see about a few repairs." 

The magistrate sat upright in his seat upon 
the bench, and there shot from his eyes a 
severity that concealed his sense of the 
ridiculous from those only who did not know 
him well. 

" Repairs ! " said he. " No — no — we can't 
have that. We allow that you may be a 
creature of singular habit, but not of frequent 
custom. You will be coming up to buy a 
latch for one of your back doors next. 
There is no end to this. Rents — yes ; but 
repairs — oh, no ! — oh, no ! I can't allow 
you repairs. Three davs without the option. 
Next ! " 

When Miss Constantia returned after three 
days to Morpeth Road she explained to her 
maid how pressing her friends had been. 

44 But I must not leave you alone so long 
again," said she. 44 It's not right. I'm sure 
it's not right. I sha'n't stay longer than one 
night next ti^ a|from ' 






IT gave me a nasty jar, I can tell you. 
You see, what happened was this. 
Once a year Jeeves takes a couple of 
weeks' vacation and biffs off to the sea 
or somewhere to restore his tissues. Pretty 
rotten for me, of course, while he's away, 
J S- Lit it has to Ik- Mm.k, so I stick it ; and I 
must admit that he usually manages to get 
hold of a fairly decent fellow to look after 
me in his absence. 

Well, the time had come round again, and 
Jeeves was in the kitchen giving" the tinder- 
study a few tips about his duties. I hap- 
pened to want a stamp or something, or a bit 
of string or something, and I toddled down 
the passage to ask him for it. The silly ass 
had left the kitchen door open; and I hadn't 
gone two steps when his voice caught me 
squarely in the eardrum, 

" You will find Mr. Wooster/' he was 
saying to the substitute chappie, M an 
exceedingly pleasant and amiable young 
gentleman, but not intelligent. By no 
means intelligent. Mentally he is negligible 
— quite negligible.'* 

Well, I mean to say, what ! 

I suppose, strictly speaking, I ought to 
have charged in and ticked the blighter off 
properly in no uncertain voice. But I doubt 
whether it's humanly possible to tick Jeeves 
off. Personally, I didn't even have a dash 
at it. I merely called for my hat and stick 
in a marked manner and legged it. But the 
memory rankled, if you know what I mean. 
We Woosters do not lightly forget. At 
least, we do — some things— appointments, 
and people's birthdays, and letters to post, 

Copyright, 192*, by 

and all that — but not an absolute bally 
insult like the above, I brooded like the 

I was still brooding when I dropped in at 
the oyster- bar at Buck's for a quick bracer. 
I needed a bracer rather particularly at the 
moment, because I was on my way to lunch 
with my Aunt Agatha, A pretty frightful 
ordeal, believe me or l>clieve me not. 
Practically the nearest thing to being 
disembowelled. I had just had one quick 
and another rather slower, and was feeling 
about as cheerio as was possible under the 
circs, when a muffled voice hailed me from 
the north-east, and, turning round, I saw 
young Bingo Little propped up in a corner, 
wrapping himself round a sizable chunk of 
brt ad and cheese. 

II Hallo-allo-allo 
seen you for ages, 
lately, have you ? " 

,f No. I've been living out in the country." 

M Eh ? ,p I said, for Bingo's loathing for the 
country was well known, M Whereabouts ? " 

" Down in Hampshire, at a place called 

** No, really ? I know some people who've 
got a house there. The Glossops, Have you 
met them ? " 

,r Why,, that's where I'm staying! " said 
young Bingo, "I'm tutoring the Glossop 

*' What for ? " I said. I couldn't seem to 
see young Bingo as a tutor. Though, of 
course, he did get a degree of sorts at Oxford, 
and 1 suppose you CM always fool some of 
the pe| 
R G. Wi 

'" I said. * 4 Haven't 
You've not been in here 



Scoring Off Jeeves 

I What for ? For money, of course ! An 
absolute sitter came unstitched in the second 
race at Haydock Park/* said young Bingo, 
with some bitterness, " and I dropped my 
entire month's allowance. I hadn't the 
nerve to touch my uncle for any more, so it 
was a case of buzzing round to the agents 
and getting a job. I've been down there 
three weeks." 

" I haven't met the Glossop kid." 
" Don't ! " advised Bingo, briefly. 
" The only one of the family I really know 
is the girl." I had hardly spoken these 
words when the most extraordinary change 
came over young Bingo's face. His eyes 
bulged, his cheeks flushed, and his Adam's 
apple hopped about like one of those india- 
rubber balls on the top of the fountain in a 
shooti n g-galler y . 

II Oh, Bertie ! " he said, in a strangled sort 
of voice. 

I looked at the poor fish anxiously. I 
knew that he was always falling in love with 
someone, but it didn't seem possible that 
even he could have fallen in love with 
Honoria Glossop. To me the girl was 
simply nothing more nor less than a pot of 
poison. One of those dashed large, brainy, 
strenuous, dynamic girls you see so many 
of these days. She had been at Girton, 
where, in addition to enlarging her brain to 
the most frightful extent, she had gone in 
for every kind of sport and developed the 
physique of a middle-weight catch-as-catch- 
can wrestler. I'm not sure she didn't box 
for the 'Varsity while she was up. The 
effect she had on me whenever she appeared 
was to make me want to slide into a cellar , 
and lie low till they blew the Ail-Clear. 

Vet here was young Bingo obviously all 
for her. There was no mistaking it. The 
love-light was in the blighter's eyes. 

" I worship her, Bertie ! I worship the 
very ground she treads on ! " continued the 
patient, in a loud, penetrating voice. One 
or two fellows had come in, and McGarry, 
the chappie behind the bar, was listening 
with his ears flapping. But there's no 
reticence about Bingo. He always reminds 
me of the hero of a musical comedy who 
takes the centre of the stage, gathers the 
boys round him in a circle, and tells them all 
about his love at the top of his voice. 

" Have you told her ? " 

" No. I haven't had the nerve. But we 
walk together in the garden most evenings, 
and it sometimes seems to me that there is 
a look in her eyes." 

" I know that look. Like a sergeant- 

" Nothing of the kind ! Like a tender 

" Half a second, old thing," I said. " Are 
you sure we're talking about the same girl ? 

The one I mean is Honoria. Perhaps there's 
a younger sister or something I've not heard 
of? " 

" Her name is Honoria," bawled Bingo, 

" And she strikes you as a tender goddess?" 

11 She does." 

*• God bless you ! " I said. 

" She walks in beauty like the night of 
cloudless climes and starry skies ; and all 
that's best of dark and bright meet in her 
aspect and her eyes. Another bit of bread 
and cheese," he said to the lad behind the bar. 

4< You're keeping your strength up," I said. 

** This is my lunch. I've got to meet 
Oswald at Waterloo at one-fifteen, to catch 
the train back. I brought him up to town 
to see the dentist." 

" Oswald ? Is that the kid ? " 

" Yes. Pestilential to a degree." 

" Pestilential ! That reminds me, I'm 
lunching with my Aunt Agatha. I'll have 
to pop off now, or I'll be late." 

IN Society circles, I believe, my Aunt 
Agatha has a fairly fruity reputation as 

a hostess. But then, I take it she doesn't 
ballyrag her other guests the way she does 
me. I don't think I can remember a single 
meal with her since I was a kid of tender 
years at which she didn't turn the conversa- 
tion sooner or later to the subject of my 
frightfulness. To-day, she started in on me 
with the fish. 

" Bertie," she said — in part and chattily — 
"it is young men like you who make the 
person with the future of the race at heart 
despair ! " 

" What-ho ! " I said. 

" Cursed with too much money, you 
fritter away in selfish idleness a life which 
might have been made useful, helpful, and 
profitable. You do nothing but waste your 
time on frivolous pleasures. You are simply 

an anti-social animal, a drone " She 

fixed me with a glittering eye. " Bertie, 
you must marry ! " 

" No, dash it all ! " 

" Yes ! You should be breeding children 
to " 

" No, really, I say, please ! " I said, 
blushing richly. Aunt Agatha belongs to 
two or three of these women's clubs, and 
she keeps forgetting she isn't in the smoking- 

" You want somebody strong, self-reliant, 
and sensible, to counterbalance the deficien- 
cies and weaknesses of your own character. 
And by great good luck I have found the very 
girl. She is of excellent family — plenty of 
money, though that does not matter in 
your case. She has met you ; and, while 
there is naturally much in you of which she 

disap wSsff? oftMfer* 6 you - l 

P. G, Wodehouse 


know this, for I 
have sounded 
her — guardedl y , 
of course — and 
I am sure that 
you have only 
to make the first 
advances " 

"Who is it?" 
I would have 
said it long 
before > but the 
shock had made 
me swallow a 
bit of roll the 
wrong way, and 
I had only just 
finished turning 
purple and try- 
ing to get a bit 
of air back into 
the old wind- 
pipe. "Who 
is it ? M 

"Sir Rode- 
rick Glossop's 
daughter, Hon- 

"No, no!" I 
cried, paling 
beneath the 

"Don't he 
silly, Bertie. 
She is just the 
wife for you," 

"Yes, but 
look here " 

"She will 
mould you/' 

"But I don't 
want to be 

Aunt Agatha 
gave me the 

kind of look she used to give me when I 
was a kid and had been found in the jam 

1 Bertie ! I hope you are not going to be 

" Well, but I mean- "' 

" Lady Glossop has very kindly invited 
yon to Ditteredge Hall for a few days, I 
told her you would be delighted to come 
down to-morrow." 

41 I'm sorry, but Fve got a dashed impor- 
tant engagement to-morrow." 

" What engagement ? " 

" We!l— er " 

** You have no engagement, And, even 
if you had, you must put it off. I shall be 
very seriously annoyed, Bertie, if you do not 
go to Ditteredge Hall to-morrow/ 

"Oh, right-o ! " I said. 

11 There was no mistaking it. 

VoL Ixiiu— IK 


The love-light was in the blighter's eyes." 

AM AN may be down, but he is never out. 
It wasn't two minutes after I had parted 
from Aunt Agatha before the old fight- 
ing spirit of the Woosters reasserted itself. 
Ghastly as the peril was which loomed before 
me, I was conscious of a rummy sort of 
exhilaration. It was a tight corner, but the 
tighter the corner, 1 felt, the more juicily 
should I score off Jeeves when I got myself 
out of it without a bit of help from him* 
Ordinarily, of course, I should have con- 
sulted him and trusted to him to solve the 
difficulty ; but after what I had heard him 
saying in the kitchen, I was dashed if I was 
going to demean myself. When I got home 
I addressed the man with light abandon. 

" Jeeves,'* I said, " I'm in a bit of a 
difficulty." ~ . 

< I'm sorry to hear «flfiV sir/' 



Scoring Off Jeeves 

" Yes, quite a bad hole. In fact, you 
might say on the brink of a precipice, and 
faced by an awful doom." 

" If 1 could be of any assistance, sir " 

" Oh, no. No, no. Thanks very- much, 
but no f no. I won't trouble you. I've no 
doubt I shall be able to get out of it all right 
by myself." 

' Very good, sir." 

So that was that. I'm bound to say I'd 
have welcomed a bit more curiosity from the 
-fellow, but that is Jeeves all over. Cloaks 
his emotions, if you know what I mean. 
Wears the mask and what not. 

HON OR I A was away when I got to 
Ditteredge oh the following afternoon. 
Her mother told me that she was 
staying with some people named Brayth- 
wayt in the neighbourhood, and would be 
back next day, bringing the daughter of 
the house with her for a visit. She said I 
would find Oswald out in the grounds, and 
such is a mother's love that she spoke as 
if that were a bit of a boost for the grounds 
and an inducement to go there. 

Rather decent, the grounds at Ditteredge. 
A couple of terraces, a bit of lawn with a 
cedar on it, a bit of shrubbery, and finally a 
small but goodish lake with a stone bridge 
running across it. Directly I'd worked my 
way round the shrubbery I spotted young 
Bingo leaning against the bridge smoking a 
cigarette. Sitting on the stonework, fishing, 
was a species of kid whom I took to be 
Oswald the Plague-Spot/ 

Bingo was both surprised and delighted 
to see me, and introduced mc to the kid. If 
the latter was surprised and delighted too, 
he concealed it like a diplomat. ' He just 
looked at me, raised his eyebrows slightly, 
and went on fishing. He was one of those 
supercilious striplings who give you the 
impression that you went to the wrong school 
and that your clothes don't fit. 

" This is Oswald," said Bingo. 

" What," I replied, cordially, " could be 
sweeter ? How are you ? " 

" Oh, all right," said the kid. 

" Nice place, this." 

" Oh, all right," said the kid. 

" Having a good time fishing ? " 

" Oh, all right," said the kid. 

Young Bingo led me off to commune 

1 Doesn't jolly old Oswald's incessant 
flow of prattle make your head ache some- 
times ? " I asked. 

Bingo sighed. 

" It's a hard job." 

" What's a hard job ? " 

" Loving him." 

" Do you love him ? " I asked, surprised. 
I shouldn't have thought it could be done. 

" I try to," said young Bingo, " for Her 
sake. She's coming back to-morrow, Bertie. " 

" So I heard." 

" She is coming, my love, my own " 

" Absolutely," I said. " But touching on 
young Oswald once more. Do you have to 
be with him all day ? How do you manage 
to stick it ? " 

" Oh, he doesn't give much trouble. 
When we aren't working he sits on that 
bridge all the time, trying to catch tiddlers." 

" Why don't you shove him in ? " 

" Shove him in ? " 

" It seems to me distinctly the thing to do, " 
I said, regarding the stripling's back with a 
good deal of dislike. " It would wake him 
up a bit, and make him take an interest in 

Bingo shook his head a bit wistfully. 

" Your proposition attracts me," he said, 
" but I'm afraid it can't be done. You see, 
She would never forgive me. She is devoted 
to the little brute." 

" Great Scot ! " I cried. " I've got it ! " 

I don't know if you know that feeling when 
you get an inspiration, and tingle all down 
your spine from the soft collar as now worn 
to the very soles of the old Waukeesis ? 
Jeeves, I suppose, feels that way more or 
less all the time, but it isn't often it comes 
to me. But now all Nature seemed to be 
shouting at me " You've clicked ! " and I 
grabbed young Bingo by the arm in a way 
that must have made him feel as if a horse 
had bitten him. His finely-chiselled features 
were twisted with agony and what not, and 
he asked me what the dickens I thought I 
was playing at. 

" Bingo," I said, " what would Jeeves 
have done ? " 

" How do you mean, what would Jeeves 
have done ? " 

" I mean what would he have advised in 
a case like yours ? I mean you wanting to 
make a hit with Honoria Glossop and all 
that. Why, take it from me, laddie, he 
would have shoved you behind that clump 
of bushes over there ; he would have got me 
to lure Honoria on to the bridge somehow ; 
then, at the proper time, he would have 
told me to give the kid a pretty hefty jab 
in the small of the back, so as to shoot 
him into the water ; and then you would 
have dived in and hauled him out. How 
about it ? " 

■' You didn't think that out by. yourself, 
Bertie ? " said young Bingo, in a hushed sort 
of voice. 

" Yes, I did. Jeeves isn't the only fellow 
with ideas." 

" But it's absolutely wonderful." 

" Just a suggestion." 

" The only objection I can see is that it 
would la so dashed awkward for you. I 

P, G, Wodehouse 


mean to say, suppose the kici turned round 
and said you had shoved him in, that would 
make you frightfully unpopular with Her.' 1 

" I don't mind risking that*" 

The man was deeply moved, 

" Bertie, this is noble." 

" No, no/ J 

He clasped my hand silently, then chuckled 
like the last bit of water going down the 
waste-pipe in a bath. 

" Now what ? " I said. 

" I was only thinking/' 
said young Bingo, 4 " how 
fearfully wet Oswald will 
get. Oh, happy day ! " 

I DON'T know if you've 
noticed it, but it's 
rummy how nothing in 
this world ever seems to be 
absolutely perfect. The 
drawback to this otherwise 
singularly fruity binge was, 
of course, the fact that 
Jeeves wouldn't be on the 
spot to watch 
nie in action. 
Still, apart 
from that 
there wasn't 
a flaw. The 
beauty of the 
thing was, 
you see, that 
nothing could 
possibly go 
wrong. You 
know how it 
is, as a rule, 
when you 
want to get 
Chappie A on 
Spot B at 
exactly the 
same moment 
when Chappie 
C is on Spot 
D. There's 
always a 
chance of a 
hitch. Take 
the case of 
a general, I 
mean to say, 
who's plan- 
ning out a big movement. He tells one 
regiment to capture the hill with the 
windmill on it at the exact moment when 
another regiment is taking the bridgehead 
or something down in the valley ; and 
everything gets all messed up. And then, 
when they're chatting the thing over in 
camp that night, the colonel of the first 
regiment saj^, "Oh, sorry ! Did you say 

the hill with the windmill ? I thought you 
said the one with the flock of sheep," And 
there you are ! But, in this case, nothing 
like that could happen, because Oswald and 
Bingo would be on the spot right along, so 
that all I had to worry about was getting 
Honoria there in due season. And I man- 
aged that all right, first shot, by asking her 
ifshe would come for a stroll in the grounds 
with me, as I had something particular to 

say to her. 

She had ar- 
rived shortly 
after lunch in 
the car with 
the Brayth- 
wayt girl I 
was intro- 
duced to the 
latter, a tall- 
ish girl with 
blue eyes and 
fair hair. I 
rather took 
to her — she 
was so unlike 
Honoria — 
and, if I 
had been 
able to spare 
the time, 
I should n't 
have minded 
talking to her 
for a bit. But 
business was 
business — I 
had fixed it 
up with Bingo 
to be behind 
the bushes at 
three sharp, 
so I got hold 
of Honoria 
and steered 
her out 
through the 
grounds in 
the direction 
of the lake. 

' A You're 
very quiet, 
she said. 
Made me 
jump a bit. I was concentrating pretty 
tensely at the moment, We had just come 
in sight of the lake, and I was casting a keen 
eye over the ground to see that everything 
was in order. Everything appeared to be as 
arranged. The kid Oswald was hunched up 
on the bridge; and, as Bingo wasn't visible, 
I took it that he tiad got into position. My 
watc^^i^g^^^er the hour. 



Scoring Off Jeeves 

" Oh, ah, yes. I was 

*Eh? " I said 
just thinking.' ' 

" You said you had something important 
to say to me/' 

" Absolutely ! " I had decided to open 
the proceedings by sort of paving the way 
for young Bingo. I mean to say, without 
actually mentioning his name, I wanted to 
prepare the girl's mind for the fact that, 
surprising as it might seem, there was some- 
one who had long loved her from afar and 
all that sort of rot. " It's like this," I said. 
" It may sound rummy and all that, but 
there's somebody who's frightfully in love 
with you and so forth — a friend of mine, you 

*' Oh, a friend of yours ? " 

" Yes." 

She gave a kind of a laugh. 

" Well, why doesn't he tell me so ? " 

" Well, you see, that's the sort of chap he 
is. Kind of shrinking, diffident kind of 
fellow. Hasn't got the nerve. Thinks you 
so much above him, don't you know. Looks 
on you as a sort of goddess. Worships the 
ground you tread on, but can't whack up 
the ginger to tell you so." 

" This is very interesting." 

" Yes. He's not a bad chap, you know, 
in his way. Rather an ass, perhaps, but 
well-meaning. Well, that's the posish. You 
might just bear it in mind, what ? " 

" How funny you are ! " 

She chucked back her head and laughed 
with considerable vim. She had a pene- 
trating sort of laugh. Rather like a train 
going into a tunnel. It didn't sound over- 
musical to me, and on the kid Oswald it 
appeared to jar not a little. He gazed at us 
with a good deal of dislike. 

" I wish the dickens you wouldn't make 
that row," he said. " Scaring all the fish 

It broke the spell a bit. Honoria changed 
the subject. 

4 I do wish Oswald wouldn't sit on the 
bridge like that," she said. " I'm sure it 
isn't safe. He might easily fall in." 

11 I'll go and tell him," I said. 

I SUPPOSE the distance between the kid 
and me at this juncture was about 
five yards, but I got the impression 
that it was nearer a hundred. And, as I 
started to toddle across the intervening 
space, I had a rummy feeling that I'd 
done this very thing before. Then I 
remembered. Years ago, at a country- 
house party, I had been roped in to 
play the part of a butler in some amateur 
theatricals in aid of some ghastly charity or 
other ; and I had had to open the proceedings 
by walking across the empty stage from left 
upper entrance and shoving a tray on a table 

down right. They had impressed it on me 
at rehearsals that I mustn't take the course 
at a quick heel-and-toe, like a chappie 
finishing strongly in a walking-race ; and 
the result was that I kept the brakes on to 
such an extent that it seemed to me as if I 
was never going to get to the bally table at 
all. The stage seemed to stretch out in 
front of me like a trackless desert, and there 
was a kind of breathless hush as if all Nature 
had paused to concentrate its attention on 
me personally. Well, I felt just like that 
now. I had a kind of dry gulping in my 
throat, and the more I walked the farther 
away the kid seemed to get, till suddenly I 
found myself standing just behind him 
without quite knowing how I'd got there. 

" Hallo ! " I said, with a sickly sort of grin 
— wasted on the kid, because he didn't 
bother to turn round and look at me. He 
merely wiggled his left ear in a rather 
peevish manner. I don't know when I've 
met anybody in whose life I appeared to 
mean so little. 

" Hallo ! " I said. " Fishing ? " 

I laid my hand in a sort of elder-brotherly 
way on his shoulder. 

" Here, look out ! " said the kid, wobbling 
on his foundations. 

It was one of those things that want doing 
quickly or not at all. I shut my eyes and 
pushed. Something seemed to give. There 
was a scrambling sound, a kind of yelp, a 
scream in the offing, and a splash. And so 
the long day wore on, so to speak. 

I opened my eyes. The kid was just 
coming to the surface. 

" Help ! " I shouted, cocking an eye on 
the bush from which young Bingo was 
scheduled to emerge. 

Nothing happened. Young Bingo didn't 
emerge to the slightest extent whatever. 

" I say ! Help ! " I shouted again. 

I don't want to bore you with reminis- 
cences of my theatrical career, but I must 
just touch once more on that appearance of 
mine as the butler. The scheme on that occa- 
sion had been that when I put the tray on 
the table the heroine would come on and say 
a few words to get me off. Well, on the night 
the misguided female forgot to stand by, and 
it was a full minute before the search-party 
located her and shot her on to the stage. 
And all that time I had to stand there, 
waiting. A rotten sensation, believe me, 
and this was just the same, only worse. I 
understood what these writer-chappies mean 
when they talk about time standing still. 

Meanwhile, the kid Oswald was presumably 
being cut off in his prime, and it began to 
seem to me that some sort of steps ought to 
be taken about it. What I had seen of the 
lad hadn't particularlv endeared him to me, 

but tt iMEH9WHieiJ&A* , " ck to ,et him 

P. G. Wodehouse 


There was a scream in the offing, and a 
* Help I * I shouted, * 1 say I Help ! * 

pass away. I don't know when I have seen 
anything more grubby and unpleasant than 
the lake as viewed from the bridge ; but the 
thing apparently had to be done. I chucked 
off my coat and vaulted over. 

It seems rummy that water should be so 
much wetter when you go into it with your 
clothes on than when you're just bathing, 
but take it from me that it does, I was only 
under about three seconds, I suppose, but I 
came up feeling like the bodies you read of 
in the paper which " had evidently been in 
the water several days/* I felt clammy and 

At this point the scenario struck another 
snag. I had assumed that directly I came 
to the surface I should get hold of the kid 
and steer him courageously to shore, But 
he hadn't waited to be steered. When I 
had finished getting the water out of my 

eyes and had time 
to take a look 
round, I saw him 
about ten yards 
away, going 
strongly and 
\ising, I think, the 
Australian crawl. 
The spectacle 
took all the heart 
out of me. I mean 
to say, the whole 
essence of a res- 
cue, if you know 
what I mean, is 
that the party of 
the second part 
shall keep fairly 
still and in one spot. If he starts 
swimming off on his own account 
and can obviously give you at 
%£i least forty yards in the hundred, 

where are you ? The whole thing 
falls through. It didn't seem to 
me that there was much to be 
done except get ashore, so I got 
ashore. By the time I had landed, 
the kid was half-way to the house. 
Look at it from whatever angle 
you like, the thing was a wash-out. 
I was interrupted in my medi- 
tations by a noise like the Scotch 
express going under a bridge. St 
was Honoria Glossop laughing. 
She was standing at my elbow, 
looking at me in a rummy 

*' Oh, Bertie, you are funny ! " 
she said. And even in that 
moment there seemed to me 
something sinister in the words. 
She had never called me any- 
thing except " Mr. Wooster JJ 
before. " How wet you are ! " 
" Yes, I am wet.'* 

" You had better hurry into the house and 
' l Yes." 

I wrung a gallon or two of water out of my 

"You are funny 1 Jt she said again, 
1J First proposing in that extraordinary 
roundabout way, and then pushing poor 
little Oswald into the lake so as to impress 
me by saving him." 

I managed to get the water out of my 
throat sufficiently to try to correct this 
fearful impression, 

" No, no ! " 

II He said you pushed him in, and I saw 
you do it, Oh, I'm not angry, Bertie. I 
think it was too sweet of you. But I'm 
quite sure it's time that I took you in hand. 
You certainly want someone to look after 




Scoring Off Jeeves 

you. You've been seeing too many moving- 
pictures, 1 suppose the next thing you 
would have done would have been to set the 
house on fire so as to rescue me." She 
looked at me in a proprietary sort of way. 
" I think/' she said, " I shall be able to make 
something of you, Bertie. It is true yours has 
been a wasted life up to the present, but you are 
still young, and there is a lot of good in you." 

11 No, really there isn't/' 

M Oh, yes, there is. It simply wants 
bringing out Now you run straight up to 
the house and change your wet clothes 
or you will 
catch cold/* 

And, if you 
know what I 
mean, there 
was a sort 
of motherly 
note in her 
voice which 
seemed to 
tell me, even 
more than 
her actual 
words, that I 
was for it. 

AS I was 
J-\^ coming 
stairs after 
changing. I 
ran into 
young Bin- 
go h looking 
festive to a 

"Bertie! " 
h e s aid, 
"Just the 
man I wan ted 
to see. Ber- 
tie, a won- 
derful thing 
has hap- 

,- You bligh- 
ter!" I cried. 
" What be- 
came of you? 
Do you 
loiow— ? " 

" Oh, you 
mean about 
being in those bushes ? I hadn't time to tell 
you about that. It's all oft/* 

" All off ? " 

4i Bertie, I was actually starting to hide in 

those bushes when the most extraordinary 
thing happened, Walking across the lawn 
I saw the most radiant, the most beautiful 
girl in the world There is none like her, 
none, Bertie, do you believe in love at 
first sight ? You do believe in love at first 
sight, don't you, Bertie, old man ? Directly 
I saw her, she seemed to draw me like a 
magnet. I seemed to forget everything. 
We two were alone in a world of music 
and sunshine, I joined her, I got into 
conversation. She is a Miss Braythwayt, 
Bertie — Daphne Braythwayt. Directly 

our eyes 
met t I real- 
ized that 
what I had 
imagined to 
be my love 
for Honoria 
Glossop had 
been a 
mere pass- 
ing whim. 
Bertie, you 
do believe 
in love at 
first sight, 
don't you ? 
She as so 
s o sympa- 
thetic. Like 
a tender god- 
dess- " 

At this 
point I left 
the blighter. 

TWO days 
later I 
got a 
letter from 

"... The 
weather/' it 
ended, "con- 
tinues fine, 
1 have had 
one exceed- 
ingly enjoy- 
able bathe/' 
I gave one 
of those hol- 
low, mirth- 
less laughs, 
and went downstairs to join Honoria, 
I had an appointment with her in the 
drawing-room. She was going to read 
Kuskin to me. 

Oh, Bertie, you ate funny ! *' 

^yxUnnM:"Sir x Roderick comes ©^ffcf'fpom 




It will be seen that with six dominoes I have formed 

a frame so that the pips add up 6 on every side. Now, 
from the remaining dominoes 
form two new square frames 
in exactly the same manner 
(with six dominoes each) so 
that the sides of one shall add 
up 12 and the other 18. Re- 
member that the three frames 
have to be built up at the 
same time from one set, so 
no domino can be repeated, 
and you must place 1 against 1, 

2 against 2, and so on, in the usual way. 

The following very interesting little clock puzzle 
is sent to me by Mr. N. O. Jasper. There is only 
one possible solution to it. At what time are the 
two hands of a clock so situated that, reckoning as 
minute points past XII, one is exactly the square 
of the* distance of the other ? 

• # i • • • • 

Sometimes it is quite perplexing to identify a 
common object from a quaint, though quite accurate, 
description of it. A friend suddenly sprang this on 
me : " I have just seen something with two heads, 
one tail, four legs on one side and two legs on the 
other. What was it ? " Can the reader guess ? 


HERE is a funny tangle sent to me by a correspondent 
(M. M.). It is a mixture of Lewis Carroll's " Monkey 
and Pulley," Loyd's " How old was Mary ? " and 
some other trifles. But it is quite easy if you have a 
pretty clear head. 

A rope is passed over a pulley. It has a weight at 
one end and a monkey at the other. There is the 
same length of rope on either side and equilibrium is 
maintained. The rope weighs 40Z. per foot. The age 
of the monkey and the age of the monkey's mother 
together total 4 years. The weight of the monkey 
is as many pounds as the monkey's mother is years 
old. The monkey's mother was twice as old as the 
monkey was when the monkey's mother was half as 
old as the monkey will be when the monkey is three 
times as old as the monkey's mother was when the 
monkey's mother was three times as old as the monkey. 
The weight of the rope and the weight at the end was 
half as much again as the difference in weight between 
the weight of the weight and the weight and the 
weight of the monkey. Now, what was the length of 
the rope ? 

Solutions to Last MontL's Puzzles. 

Fold A Bon itself and find the mid point E. Fold 
through E C. Lav E B on E C and fold so as to get 
E F and F G. Make C H equal to C G. Find K, the 
mid point on B H, and make C L equal to B K. B C 
Is said to be divided in medial section, and we have 
found K L, the side of the pentagon. Now (see 
second diagram) lay K M and L N equal to K L, so 

that M and N mav lie on B A and C D respectivelv. 
Fold P Q and lay M and N O equal to K M and L N. 

Then K M O N L is the pentagon required. For this 
solution I am indebted to a little book, " Geometrical 
Exercises in Paper Folding," by T. Sundara Row 
(Madras, 1893). 


Dump 5 rations at 90 mile point and return to base 

(5 days). Dump 1 at 95, return to base and dump i 

at 90, stopping there (i day). Dump 2 at 80 and return 

to 90 (2 days). Fetch one from 95 and dump it at 80, 

stopping there (1 
day). Dump 1 at 
70 and return to 80 
(1 day). Return to 
base (1 day). We 
have thus left 1 at 
70 and 1 at 90. 
Now dump 6 at 10 
and 1 at 15, return- 
ing to 10 (7 days). 
Dump 2 at 20 and 
1 at 25, returning to 
20 (3 days). Dump 
1 at 30, returning to 
20, picking up 1 at 
25 (1 day). - Fetch 
1 at 15 to dump at 30 (1 day). March to 50, 70, and 
'90 (3 days). March to base "(J day). These 26J days 
cannot, I think, be reduced. If "the route had been 
in a straight line of 100 miles across a desert, I believe 
the shortest time necessary is 104 days, but the reader 
will find it difficult. 


As the man can walk 27 steps while the car goes 
162, the car is clearly going six times as fast as the 
man. The man walks 3$ miles an hour : therefore 
the car was going at 21 miles an hour. 

I have no solution yet, but suspect it has something 
to do with 4i Don't be flat. Be upright And be natural." 
This is a mere suggestion. 

The following is a solution : DUCKS, FROG, VEX. 
JIB, WALTZ, NYMPH. As the Q is always followed 
bv two vowels it must be the letter omitted. 

Scores of correspondents have suggested EMPTY, 
and I think this is probably the intended answer. I 
have seen no oihet word anything like so good. 




[Author of "Green Mansions," "Adventures Among 
Birds/' "The Purple Land/' etc, etc) 

AN Editorial 

/\ note at 
XJ^, the foot nf 
an article* 
on the above sub- 
ject in the August 
number of tins 
magazine inviting 
correspond en ce 
has resulted in an 
abundant shower 
of letters, sufficient 
I think to make a 
good-sized volume, 
from nil over the 
land, -with others 
from Continental 
co u n tries, an d some 
from outlandish 
places still farther 
removed, The 
narratives received 
relate to a great 
variety of animals, and perhaps the most 
interesting, as showing the power to reflect 
in our poor relations, are about pel monkeys 
in India and Africa, Some of these may 
find a use at a future time ; at present I can 
only express my warm thanks to those who 
have placed so much good material in my 
hands. In the small space available here 1 
must confine myself to the subject of cats 
and their ability to think. 

Quite a large number of the letters contain 
accounts of cats that have found out by 
observation and practice how to do difficult 
things, as, for instance, the opening of doors 
by fiddling at the handle or latch until they 
have mastered the trick. Or, when this has 
been impossible, of finding out a way of 
communicating their wishes to the people 
of the house. In one instance the cat, 
unable to get a door open himself, would 
always go to the big dog of the house, who 
could open most doors ; and the dog would 


TOM &£Lyi3IE 


know just what he 
was wanted for, 
and was pleased to 
render this small 
service to his 

It came as a sur- 
prise to me to find 
that more cats than 
the one I described 
in a former paper 
have acquired the 
habit of begging 
from seeing it in 
dogs. It was by 
thinking the Cat 
made the discovery 
that by assuming 
this unnatural pos- 
ture a readier at- 
tention would be 
given to its wants. 
The cat acquires 
the trick from the dog, but begs in a different, 
a more cat-like, a less obtrusive way. The 
dog can never understand why there is not 
an instant response to its begging, The cat 
who has not been taught the trick, but has 
learned it himself, sits up vertically with its 
forepaws hanging down like arms, and remains 
in this position without a sound, and as 
patient and still as when waiting and watching 
for a mouse ♦ The expected or hoped-for 
morsel, like the mouse, will come in due time : 
if not. not. 

There arc other curious instances of cats 
finding out a way of calling attention to their 
wants. One relates to a cat in Scotland, 
named Major, a small, compact, powerful, 
and very natural cat. who would not sit or 
lie close to the fire, but preferred sitting on a 
table some distance from it. He was a great 
rat -hunter, rats being very numerous in the 
place, and 'Sftiepn bbf HOTS old and had lost 
bis ^.j^p^^^^^ger kill a rat 

W. H. Hudson 


quickly by biting, it was observed that he 
dragged a struggling rat he had captured to 
the stone steps of the house and pounded the 
rat's head on the stones until it was dead. 
As an act of this kind, which is common 
enough in birds, is not instinctive in the cat, 
it can only be set down to observation and 

The way this cat had discovered of in- 
dicating his desire to be fed was most 
remarkable, He invariably appeared in the 
dining-rcom at meal times, and if no notice 
was taken of him he would trot off to the 
kitchen where there was always to be found 
a dish of hard crusts put by for another pur- 
pose. With one of these crusts in his mouth 
he would return, and jumping into a chair 
so as to make his presence conspicuous to 
the diners, he would begin gnawing, or rather 
pretending to gnaw, the hard crust, and 
making as much ado over it as possible until" 
some food on a plate was put clown ior him, 
whereupon he would immediately drop the 
crust and concentrate on his dinner. 

Now h I should have thought, and so, I 
believe, would any reader of the above 
instance, that no second cat in the land could 
have hit upon so original and far-fetched a 
device as this Scotch animal, but 1 have 
received a similar instance from Chard,, in 
Somersetj and in this second one the cat 
£oes one better, since he performs the trick 
without the crust. This one also has the 
habit of attending at all meals, and seats 
himself on a chair so as to command a view 
of the table. As soon as the eating is in full 
swing he begins grinding and clicking his 
teeth, and if this 
brings no r e- 
sponse, or is not 
1 m m e d i a t. c. ] y 
noticed, he goes 
on to imitate all 
the motions of a 
cat eating. He 
screws up his eyes, 
moves his head 


The cat acquires the trick of begging from 
begs in a different, a more cat-like 

t " 

from side to side as if laboriously trying tn 
masticate a tough piece 1 of gristle, 

Another amusing instance of a greatly 
favoured cat getting what he wants in an 
indirect way comes from Gloucestershire, 
He was particular, not to say fastidious, 
about his food, and always had it in a plate 
put on the floor. One day he came in and 
sat down before the plate, but declined to eat. 
The housekeeper, know- 
ing what was in his 
mind, told him sharply 
that he would get no- 
thing more till he had 
eaten that. One can 
only suppose that Puss 
knew what was in hey 
mind, After a while 
he stood up and trotted 
out of the room and 
returned by-and-by fol- 
lowed by the cat from 
next door, an underfed 
animal glad to devour 
anything he could get. 
He quickly licked the 
plate clean, and then 
his entertainer was 
rewarded with the 
more delicate fare 
he had desired, 
and concerning 
which his olfac- 
tories had given 
him notice. On 
no other oc- 
casion did he 

ever allow this neigh- 
bour cat to come into 
the house. 
Now we come upon 
another aspect of the feline 
character. We are familiar 
with the fact that they hunt 
for others as well as for them- 
selves. Their manner of life 
in a state of nature has made 
them comparatively solitary, 
but they are not more unsocial 
on this account than is the 
human hunter in the wilderness 
or the angler by the brook. 
Everyone acquainted with the 
cat knows that he is as capable of 
disinterested affection and grati- 
tude as any so-called gregarious 
animal — the wolf and the jackal, 
let us say, and their not very 
nice relation, the domestic dog. 
A lady correspondent has 
supplied me with a charming 
instance in a cat named 
] imi, £ JL sad poacher whose 
ooachjjng, ! ._ u yp^ v , finally his 

the dog, but 

""•" UNIVERfflffl&ICHlfflN 


Do Cats Think ? 

undoing. One day he ate some poison in- 
tended for vermin, and came home appar- 
ently in a dying condition. She administered 
a dose of brandy and castor oil and he crawled 
off and disappeared for several hours. Then 
he reappeared, quite recovered, and laid an 
offering at the lady's feet — half of a rat— the 
tail half. He had never brought her any- 
thing before and never did again. She 
adds that he probably intended giving her 
the whole rat, but was hungry after his illness 
and was unable to resist the temptation of 
eating a part himself. 

I have known many cats both in this 
country and in South America that have 
regularly or frequently brought in their 
captures to the master or mistress of the 
house, and as the hunting cat often confines 
himself to certain species he has found out 
how to circumvent — a rabbit or partridge, 
let us say — his gifts in such cases are grate- 
fully accepted* But the cat's tastes in food 
do not always correspond with those of his 
human fellow -creatures, so that his presents 
of game are not invariably appreciated. 
The main point in the foregoing instance is 
that the cat was of a selfish disjxjsition and 
hunted for himself alone, and that in this 
case his gratitude to his mistress overcame 
his greed. The higher nature conquered. 

More instances of this kind, which are 
very common, need not be given. As a rule 

who had her kittens in a cupboard down- 
stairs, and after some days took them one 
by one upstairs to the drawing-room to give 
them a change and exhibit them to the 
family, After allowing them to play for 
half an hour on the carpet, she lalroriously 
carried them ah down again to their bed. 
This task was repeated every day : then on 
one occasion the lady of the house, seeing 
puss struggling with one of her kittens on 
the stairs, took pity on her and carried them 
all down for her. From that time onward 
she would not carry the kittens dnwn herself. 
She would bring them up as usual with much 
labour, and after they had had their half an 
hour's play on the carpet she would take them 
one by one to her mistress, and, laying them 
at her feet, insist on having them carried down 
for her, 

Another interesting case of this kind is of 
a puss who suffered intense pain in bringing 
out her first litter, and who in some way 
was relieved by her mistress, There were 
many more litters to follow during this cat's 
life, and she never suffered again as on the 
first occasion, but invariably when her time 
came she would go crying as if terrified at 
the prospect before her, to her mistress, and 
insist on her attendance in the room until 
the anxious business was over. 

There are some anecdotes about the 
different effect on cats of seeing themselves 

The cat from next door qaickly licked the plate clean — 

the cat is readier to take than to give, as 
he no doubt knows that the beings he lives 
with in a domestic state are the greatest of 
all animals, able to compass all things, so 
that the cat's ministrations are not needed. 

It is not, however, only in the matter of 
food and shelter from the storm, with bed and 
firing and caresses added, that he looks up to 
us. Here, for instance, is an anecdote of a 
cat prettily named Aspronla (modern Greek), 

in a looking-glass, also about showing 
portraits to a cat. As a rule it is not looked 
at ; it is simply a flat surface with marks or 
colours on it which mean nothing. And 
here the cat is, mentally, no lower than many 
primitive human beings or savages. My 
American fricfid and correspondent, Mr. 
Charles Finger, who edits a monthly called 
Alls Welt, lias given me an account of a 
boy in Tierra del Fuego, who, for no reason , 


W. H. Hudson 


"became attached to him and followed him 
about like a dog during his rambles in that 
outlandish place. Finger showed a picture 
or portrait of a woman to this boy and asked 
him what it was. The boy was greatly 
puzzled ; he held the paper or card before 
him at all angles and distances, turning it 
about, yet not able to say what it was. 
Then, reproached for his stupidity, he held 
it close to his face and stared again until the 
tears actually came into his eyes. Finally 
he had to be tokl that it was a representation 
of a human being, a woman, and in the end 
he managed to understand it. Yet this 
same l)oy would pick up a flint which he 
would instantly detect among hundreds of 
flints ;is the one suited to his purpose. 
With a few deft blows with another flint he 
would shape it into a very small arrow-head, 
then put it in his mouth and, turning it 
about with his tongue, bite the sharp edges 
with his teeth, and in five 
minutes there would be the 
finished arrow -head with ser- 
rated edges, 

The cat, too, like the Fuc- 
gian boy, has his arts ami 
accomplishments, useful in his 
feline state, but he is not, like 
the monkey, a seeker after 
useless knowledge. It is only 
when the monkey has grown 

and then his entertainer was rewarded 
with the more delicate (are he had 



to man that this idle curiosity begins to bear 
fruit, as the author of that clever little 
book, " Our Simian World/' has just been 
telling us. 

But the cat's mind is not always in the 
condition of the Fuegian boy's with regard 
to pictures. A correspondent writes from 
Chard, Somerset ; " Have you ever come 

across any instance of cats recognising 
photographs ? My dear old Fluff was still 
a kitten, although we had had time to get 
attached to each other, when I was sent from 
home for a lengthy change of air t Flutf was 
found more than once standing on a chair, 
his forepaws resting on the back of it, gazing 
fixedly n p at a cabinet -size full-length 
portrait of myself, recently taken, placed 
on the wall abov?! ul Xfter this had been 



Do Cats Think ? 

noticed my father would often take the cat 
up and say, * Where is your little master ? ' 
and instantly he would run, and, jumping 
upon a chair, begin staring at the photograph." 

It is hardly to be supposed that this young 
cat understood the matter as we, with our 
life-long training and perhaps higher in- 
telligence, are able to do, but that he saw the 
picture as his young master. The boy he 
loved had vanished from his sight, and lo ! 
there he was, strangely diminished in size, 
motionless and voiceless, stuck up against 
the wall. 

I believe the chief interest to readers of 
the article in the August number of this 
magazine was in the case of telepathy 
described. I then said that it was the first 
case I had encountered of telepathy between 
a human being and a cat ; that other cases 
I had met with concerned the dog, and one 
between horse and man related by M. A. 
Lower in one of his Sussex books. I have 
now to thank one of my correspondents for 
informing me of a second authentic case in 
Everard A. Calthrop's book, " The Horse 
as Friend and Companion," an extremely 
interesting work to everyone who knows and 
loves the horse, and a valuable one to every 
student of animal psychology. In this place 
I can only deal with cases betsveen man and 

It is a somewhat delicate subject, and I 
am obliged to dismiss from consideration all 
those cases in which the facts may be 
accounted for without the aid of this 
mysterious faculty of the mind. 

And here I must explain the reasons for 
not having given the names and addresses 
of my correspondents. In some instances 
I have been asked not to publish these, and, 
not to make distinctions, I think it best to 
publish none, but to keep the whole of the 
letters for future reference and to supply an 
address to anyone who may want it. 

One case sent me closely resembles the 
one I gave in the first article, of Bishop 
Barry's wife and her cat. In this instance 
the cat was left in a locked-up house in 
Buxton after arrangements had been made 
with the lady next door to go in and feed the 
cat every day. The cat was a great favourite 
and would have been taken by its mistress 
but for the fact that it was about to become 
a mother. A fortnight later the mistress, 
staying at Bordon, had a distressing dream 
in which she saw her cat drowning, fighting 
for its life and unable to climb out of the 
water, while she struggled in vain to rescue 
it, but was unable to reach it with her hand. 
On her return she found her cat well and 
happy, nursing a single kitten, but on relating 
her dream to her neighbour she was told 
that that very thing had happened on the 
night of her dream. The cat had her kittens 

under the grid of the cellar, which was 
flooded by a heavy dowrfipour of rain one 
night. The lady next door on waking at 
midnight heard its cries, and jumping up 
and hastily dressing, she went in the house 
and found the cat plunging about in the 
water with all her kittens in a half-drowned 
condition. She succeeded in reaching the 
cat and pulling her out, and after more 
trouble she managed to save one of the 

Most of the undoubted cases of telepathy 
we meet with are of this kind — the message 
is from one in extreme peril and terror, or 
in the agonies of death, to one it loves and 
looks to for protection ; and the phenomenon 
appears to be # precisely the same between 
man and man and man and animal. Other 
examples of this land I have received relate 
to the dog, and have a close resemblance to 
the familiar one recorded by Rider Haggard. 

MY last case of undoubted telepathy is 
the best, but as it comes into the life 
histories of two or three cats, all of it 
peculiarly interesting, I must give the whole 
story in full. My correspondent writes from 
North London, w r here she now resides, but 
the history begins in the house in the country, 
her former home. First of the three is 
Hnriie, received as a present in its kitten- 
hood, who grew up to be a great favourite. 
She was, unhappily, of an excessively nervous 
disposition, and had an ineradicable terror 
of strangers and workmen in the house. 
She would take refuge from them in a 
disused chimney. In due time Pinnie became 
a mother, and then many times afterwards. 
One of her first litter, named Warder, was 
preserved, and became her life-companion. 
Warder was not a nervous cat, but was taught 
by Pinnie from childhood to fly to the refuge 
in the chimney when workmen came into 
the house. Pinnie could practise deception 
on occasions. Once there was a particularly 
handsome kitten in a litter, and she appeared 
not to like the amount of attention paid to it. 
One day she was seen jumping through the 
scullery window with this kitten in her 
mouth, and by and by she came back without 
it. What had she done with it ? The whole 
house was excited over the question, and a 
great search for the lost little beauty was 
started, Pinnie herself going about with the 
searchers, but without exhibiting any signs 
of anxiety. At length someone heard a 
feeble mewing irom the coal cellar, and there 
the kitten was discovered, packed in some 
dry straw, which the cat had taken there to 
make it a bed. It was at once taken back 
to its basket and placed with the others, but 
quickly disappeared a^ain, and was again 
found in the cellar. And there they had to 
leave it. 


W. H. Hudson 


Pirmie had lived several years and had 
brought many kittens into the world before 
^he came to her end. The great adventure, 
:he removal to London, was about to take 
place, and it was decided that Pinnte could 
lot be taken on account of her extreme 
nervousness. The change to that thunderous 
world swarming with strangers would be too 
terrible for her. Xor couid she he left to the 
:are of others. The only way was to put her 
to sleep. 

One evening the family were at dinner, 
Warder, but not Pinnie, being in the room. 
My correspondent did not know that on this 
day Pinnie's life would end. Presently the 
master of the house was called out to see 
someone, and as this was not an unusual 
thing no notice was taken of it. In a few 
minutes he returned and, carefully closing 
the door, resumed his seat at the table. 
Suddenly Warder jumped up i\nd rushed to 
the door, uttering a series of unearthly cries, 
and then furiously clawed at the door to t>t t 
out, and finally collapsed in a forlorn heap 
on the floor. 

At this very moment, at the far end ol 
the house, Pinnie was being put to sleep 
by the vet. 

This is the first authentic instance 
of telepathy between animal and 
animal I have encountered. No other 
explanation of what happened 
possible. No faintest sound was 
littered by the dying Pinnie, and at 
that distance no 
cry could have 
been heard in the 
closed dining-room. 
Such cases may be 
extremely common 
in wild animal life, 
for all we know to 
the contrary, but 
it is only in domes- 
tic animals and in 
a rare concurrence 
of favourable cir- 
cumstances that 
such a phenomenon 
can be observed. 

It only remains 
to add a few facts 
c oncerni n ^ W a r- 
d e r*R subsequent 
history. Warder is 
looked on as a very 
important cat, for 
he is still living, 
aged fifteen years, 
and, my correspon- 
dent adds, " rules 
the house." He 

cannot open doors himself but makes others 
open them for him by rattling the locks. 
He had, after losing Pinnie, one great friend, 
Tipperary, a stray which he brought into 
the house and delighted to honour. Everv 
day they weft fed together, but each had a 
separate plate, and invariably after eating 
part of the food they changed plates, and 

from the time 
that Tipperary 
aft erf our years' 
ship, Warder 
has left a por- 
tion of his food 
on his plate at 
e'very meal. 
That, however, 
does not say 
that he has a 
distinct recol- 
lection of his 
lost friend 
every time he 
eats. No doubt 
Ije remembered 
him for days 
a n d tv e e k s 
after his disap 
pearance until 
leaving some- 
thing for him 
on his own 
plate became a set- 
tled habit. 

One incident in 
Tipperary 's career 
is worth recording 
as an example of 
the powerful effect 
of association. He 
was eating his 
supper one even- 
ing, gnawing a 
rabbit bone, when 
the Si I vert own ex- 
plosion took place. 
He jumped into 
the air, then 
rushed out of the 
room. From that 
time the sight or 
smell of rabbit on 
hi s p la t e wou Id 
send him at a run 
out of the room. 
To eat rabbit, 
according to his 
idea, would cause 
another SUvertown 

41 My father would often say, ' Where is your 
little master ? * and jumping upon a chair, the 

cat would begin staring at the photograph.' * 
f~*rw^nl x Original from 








W3;the menwood road bank robbery" 

Sir Norman Greyes, the chief figure in this thrilling series of detective stories, 

having resigned his high position at Scotland Yard, makes a practice of 

studying the criminal world from the outsider's point of view. 


IT had taken months to collect all 
the necessary information and make 
the preliminary arrangements, but the 
moment had arrived at last, At 
twenty minutes to twelve on a Friday 
morning I descended from a rather shabby 
Ford car exactly opposite Bailey's grocery 
stores at the corner of Menwood Street, in 
one of the northern suburbs of Leeds. It is 
a neighbourhood of si x T roomed houses and 
long cobbled streets ; a neigh bourhood 
teeming with men and women when the 
great factories close at hand are empty, but 
at this particular hour of the day, before the 
children's schools ha%^e finished their morning 
session, and whilst the men and a consider- 
able portion of the women are still in the 
mills, showing signs of something approaching 
desertion. There w T as a handsome grey 
touring landaulette containing two pas- 
sengers, a man and a woman, drawn up on 
the other side of the way, apparently to take 
advantage of the shade of some tall advertise- 
ment hoardings whilst the chauffeur filled 
up with petrol. Otherwise, a careful glance 
up and down the street convinced me that 
not a soul was in sight, 

I walked along a hot asphalt path, and 
turned the corner into what was known as 
the Boulevard almost unnoticed. On my 
left was a stretch of waste ground, black and 
stinking with refuse, empty tins, and bottles. 

Copyright, 192 i r by E. 

abandoned even by the children as an unde- 
sirable playground. On my right were more 
houses in course of erection, deserted to-day 
by reason of an opportune strike amongst 
the masons. The only inhabited edifice was 
the one where my business lay, A brass 
plate upon the door indicated that this was 
a branch of Brown's Bank, planted out here 
in this uncomely spot for the convenience 
of the huge factories which dominated the 
nei gh bo u r hood . 

With my hand upon the swing-door I 
glanced around. My luck was certainly in, 
for there was still not even a child to be 
seen. Inside, behind the counter, both the 
manager and his clerk were busy counting 
out bundles of Treasury notes. They looked 
up inquiringly as I entered. Strangers in such 
a place, I imagine, were rare. Such a stranger 
as I was a rarity which they were never likely 
to experience again in this world. 

My plans were cut and dried to the last 
detail. I wasted no time in any silly attempt 
to hold the place up, but, brief though the 
seconds were, it was amazing how my brain 
chronicled a host of varying impressions, 
I saw the bland smile fade from the man- 
ager's lips, I saw the dawn of suspicion in 
his eyes, the gleam of terror followed by 
the spasm of pain as I shot him through the 
right shoulder-blade. His assistant had not 
the courage of a rabbit. White-faced, 
gasping for . m-ercy, he ffpod there with his 

hands |^r^^^^A^ff4jfr** fenecs shaking. 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 


I am convinced that if I had left him alone 
for another five seconds he would have 
collapsed hopelessly without any inter- 
ference on my part. I was not able to take 
risks, however, so, leaning over, I struck 
him on the point of the jaw. He fell in a 
crumpled heap behind the counter. I then 
helped myself to seven thousand pounds odd 
in bank and Treasury notes, and in about a 
minute and a half after I had entered the 
bank I strolled back again the way I had 

At the corner of the street I looked back. 
There were no signs of life about the bank, 
no one apparently on his way towards it. 
There were a few children playing about 
the unoccupied houses, and behind the 
windows of the cottages in the street where 
I now was were women intent upon various 
domestic duties. One woman was scolding 
her child just outside the door. She glanced 
at me only in the most perfunctory fashion. 
My panama hat was pulled well over my 
head, a reasonable precaution with the sun 
at its greatest power. A man was bending 
over the open bonnet of the Ford car which 
I had left at the corner. I passed him by 
without a glance and stepped into the grey 
touring-car behind. The engine was purring 
gently, the chauffeur's fingers were upon the 
grear-handle as I appeared. I took my 
place by the side of Janet, unrecognizable 
beneath her motor- veil, and we glided off 
northwards. There were no signs of any 
disturbance as we shot into the broad main 
street. We gathered speed up the Chapel- 
town Hill, and very soon we were racing for 

JANET handed me a silver flask soon after 
I we had passed out of the suburbs. I 
J shook my head. 

" You know that I never take anything 
until one o'clock," I reminded her. " Why 
should I drink in the middle of the morning?" 

I fancied that I caught through her veil a 
gleam of that almost worshipping fidelity 
which had led me to trust this woman as I 
had trusted no other in my life. 

" What a nerve ! " she murmured. 

" I have no nerves," I rejoined, " neither 
have I any fear. By this time you ought to 
realize it." 

" All went smoothly ? " she asked. 

" Absolutely according to programme. 
A chance customer would have been the 
only possible disturbance, and the position 
of the bank rendered that unlikely." 

" What happened ? " 

" I shot the manager through the shoulder- 
blade," I told her. " The heart would 
probably have been safer, but the blinds of 
the bank were all drawn to keep out the sun, 
and my panama was as good as a mask. His 

clerk was almost dead from fear before I 
touched him. I had not to waste a bullet 

" And how much ? " she inquired. 

" Only just over seven thousand pounds," 
I admitted. " It seems a pitiful amount for 
so much planning and risk. Still, some- 
thing had to be done." 

We were up on a stretch of moorland now, 
well away from curious eyes. Janet and I 
were busy for some ten minutes, making 
three parcels of my stock of notes. Then 
she looked at the map. 

" Arthmgton should be the next village," 
she remarked. 

I nodded. We descended a steep hill. 
Half-way up the next we came upon a small 
motor-car, drawn up by the side of the road, 
the bonnet thrown open, its owner seated 
in the dust. The latter rose to his feet as we 
approached. I handed him the black bag 
which I had been carrying, in which was my 
panama hat and one of the packets of notes. 
He raised his cap nonchalantly. 

" According to plan ? " he asked. 

" According to plan," I replied. 

We sped on for another twenty miles, 
when almost a similar occurrence happened. 
A man seated by the side of his motor- 
bicycle rose to his feet as we approached. 
I handed him the second packet. 

" All well ? " he inquired. 

" Perfectly," I assured him. 

We were off again in less than ten seconds. 
Our third stop was at the top of a hill forty 
miles farther north, after we had partaken 
of a picnic luncheon in the car. A man was 
seated motionless in a large touring car, 
headed in our direction. He held out his arm 
as we approached, and glanced at his watch. 

" Wonderful ! " he murmured. " You are 
three minutes to the good." 

I handed him the third packet. He waved 
his hand and started up his engine. Soon 
we left him, a speck behind us. I leaned 
back and lit a cigarette. 

" I have now," I remarked, " only one 

" And that ? " Janet inquired, quickly. 
, " About the greens at Kinbrae," I confided. 
" I met a man last year who told me that 
they were apt to get dried up." 

She smiled. 

" We had plenty of rain last month/' she 
reminded me. " I thought you were going 
to speak of our friend." 

I shook my head. 

" Norman Greyes is in Norway," I told 
her. " I am not sure," I went on, after a 
moment's hesitation, " whether I do not 
sometimes regret it." 

" Why ? " 

" Norman Greves has made life incon- 

veni ^rfMTY^m&r ars '" Isaid - 

172 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

" One of our best men has had to devote the 
whole of his time to watching him. We 
have been obliged to stay away from places 
which I very much wanted to visit. He has 
that absurd gift— he always had — of being 
able to connect a particular undertaking 
with a particular person. For that reason 
we have had to remain idle until we are 
practically paupers. When we have paid 
the expenses of this coup, and paid the staff, 
there will be barely enough left to keep us 
until Christmas. If we could get rid of 
Norman Greyes, we could seek wider fields." 

" Why not ? " she asked, indifferently. 
44 He is only a man like the others." 

I pretended to be deep in thought. As a 
matter of fact, I was studying Janet. No 
creature or servant in this world could 
render such faithful service as she has 
rendered me, yet I am one of those persons 
gifted with instincts. I know that she has 
a strange mind, a strange, tumultuously 
passionate nature. I have, so far, been the 
man of her life. If it were not I, I sometimes 
wonder whether it might not be Norman 

WE were to have one tense few minutes 
before we reached our stopping-place 
for the night. We had just passed 
through a small town, and our silent chauf- 
feur was preparing to let out his engine 
again, when we were confronted by what 
was, in the circumstances, a very sinister 
sight. Two men on bicycles, approaching 
us, dismounted and stood in the middle of 
the road with outstretched hands. The sun, 
even in the distance, flashed upon their 
uniforms. We realized at once that they 
were policemen. The chauffeur half-turned 
towards me. 

" What shall you do ? " Janet demanded. 

" Do ? " I replied. 4t Why, the natural 
thing, of course. All this is provided for. 
Oliver," I added, leaning forward, 4I those 
policemen seem to want to speak to us. 
Pull up." 

We came to a standstill a yard or two 
away from them. The larger of the two 
men, who wore the uniform of a sergeant, 
made a solemn and portentous approach. 

" Good afternoon, Sergeant," I said. *' I 
hope that we are not in trouble ? " 

He looked at me as he might have done at 
a man whose hands were dripping with the 
blood of his best friend. 

" It's your number-plate, sir," he an- 
nounced. " They telephoned us through 
from Ripon to stop your car and call your 
attention to it." 

44 What is wrong with my number-plate ? " 
I asked. 

" Why, you've been driving where they've 
watered the roads freely," the sergeant 

L o 

pointed out, " and it's muddied it up entirely. 
There's no one can read a letter on it." 

I felt Janet's fingers clutch mine, and 
they were as cold as ice. It was not a mo- 
ment which I myself forgot, less for its 
significance than for its effect upon my 
companion. The chauffeur, the police-ser- 
geant, and I solemnly inspected the number- 
plate, and the former, with a duster from 
his tool-chest, carefully rubbed it clean. 

" That will be all right now, Sergeant ? " 
I inquired. 

" That will be quite all right, sir," he 
admitted, taking off his helmet and wiping 
the perspiration from his forehead. " It's a 
warm day, this, for they bicycles." 

It was my policy not to overdo the matter, 
and, indeed, it was not necessary, for the 
man's eyes glistened as I deposited a couple 
of half-crowns in his hand. 

44 I am sorry to have given you this 
trouble," I said. " We tourists are pro- 
verbially thoughtless about our number- 
plates. I hope you will accept this and have 
a drink with me." 

" We will that, sure, sir," the sergeant 
promised, saluting first me and then Janet. 
" Come along, Jock," he added, " we'll pay 
a little visit to the Widow MacGill on the way 

So we drove off again northwards. My 
chauffeur was an elderly man, who has 
faced all that the world may hold of evil 
with me many a time, but his driving for the 
first few miles was erratic. Janet, I could 
see, although outwardly she had recovered 
herself, was on the point of hysterics. I 
settled myself down in my corner, adjusted 
my horn-rimmed spectacles, and direw from 
the pocket of the car a new half-crown book 
on the principles of golf, written by a late 
beginner. So we travelled until we reached 
the inn where we stayed for the night, and 
late on the afternoon of the following day 
we arrived at our destination. There was 
just a bare white house, a lodge, the gate of 
which was held open by a great, raw-boned 
gillie, miles of what seemed to be intermin- 
able moorland, and below, the sea. I looked 
around with satisfaction. 

** You're Sandy MacLane, the caretaker 
here ? " I asked, leaning out of the car. 

He made a noise which sounded like 44 Oo 
ay! " 

41 Which way might the golf links be ? " 
I inquired. 

He pointed with a long and hairy fore- 

44 The club-house is yonder," he vouch- 
safed ; "a step across the road is the 
fifteenth tee." 

I sighed with content. 

44 Come up to the house," I ordered. 
" After tea I shall play a few holes." 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 



MY friend Rimmington called to see 
me on the night of my return from 
Norway. He looked around with an 
air of dismay at my various travelling 

" So you're really off, then ? " he re- 

" On the contrary, I've just returned," I 
told him. "It was too late in the season to 
do any good, and I made a mistake in 
changing my river. The whole thing was a 

Rimmington sighed. 

" Well, I'm glad to see you back," he 
declared, sinking into my easy chair. " All 
the same, London in August isn't exactly a 
Paradise ! " 

44 Tell me about Leeds ? " I suggested. 
" To judge from the newspapers, you seem 
to be having a lot of trouble about a very 
simple case." 

Rimmington frowned. He was silent for 
several moments and, glancing across at 
him, I noticed that he was pale and 
apparently out of sorts. 

" I think I'm stale, Greyes," he confessed. 
" The Chief pretty well hinted the same 
thing, and worse, when I got back last night, 
I really dropped round to see whether you 
could help me." 

44 If I can. I will with pleasure," I promised 
him. " You know that." 

44 You read the bare account of the affair, 
of course," Rimmington went on. " Two 
fairly credible witnesses deposed to seeing a 
man in a grey flannel suit, with a panama 
hat pushed over his eyes, drive up in a Ford, 
leave it outside Bailey's grocery stores, walk 
down the street and turn into the Boulevard 
where the bank is situated, exactly at the 
time that the robbery took place. Three 
women and two children saw him pass up 
the street two minutes later, and thirty 
seconds after that he crossed the street and 
entered Bailey's grocery stores. The man 
who served him with some marmalade, tea, 
and bacon saw him climb up into the Ford 
and drve away. The man was known at 
the shop as Ralph Roberson. There is no 
doubt that it was his car. Half an hour 
after the robbery he was arrested at his 
house — he was cleaning the car at the time 
— and although he had changed his clothes, 
the light grey suit which he had recently 
worn was discovered in his bedroom, and 
the panama hat, warm with perspiration, in 
a cupboard. His excuse for changing his 
clothes was that he put on older things in 
which to clean the car, and his account of 
his morning was that he had driven straight 
up to Bailey's stores for some groceries, and 
straight back again. Two witnesses are 

Vol. ]xiii.-12. 

ready to swear that they saw him get out of 
the Ford and go towards the bank ; the 
grocer's assistant, who served him, is ab- 
solutely certain that he was in the shop 
within thirty seconds of the Ford pulling up 
outside, and that when he left he drove 
straight away." 

" What sort of a man is this Roberson ? " 
I asked. 

44 A man of bad character," was the prompt 
reply. 44 He was once a bookmaker, but 
failed. He has been in prison for obtaining 
goods by false pretences, and there are half- 
a-dozen summonses for debt out against him 
at the present moment. The only little 
money he earns, nowadays, seems to be by 
acting as a bookmaker's tout. He knew the 
neighbourhood well, and has once been 
heard to remark upon the isolated position 
of the bank. In every respect he is just the 
man to have done it, and yet there are all 
my witnesses swearing to different things. 
Furthermore, he had scarcely a shilling in 
his pocket, and he confessed that he was 
going to try and sell the car that afternoon 
to raise a little money." 

•• It seems to me," I admitted, " that you 
have been a little premature in framing your 
case against Mr. Ralph Roberson." 

"So the magistrates thought," Rim- 
mington rejoined, dryly. " We managed to 
get two remands. This morning he was 

"If the grocer's assistant is telling the 
truth," I remarked, ** Roberson could not 
possibly have committed the robbery. What 
sort of a young man is the assistant ? " 

" Highly respectable and very intelligent," 
Rimmington replied. '* It would be quite 
impossible at any time to shake his evidence." 

44 So much for Mr. Ralph Roberson," I 
said. " And now who else is there ? " 

44 That's the difficulty," Rimmington con- 
fessed. 44 One doesn't know where to turn. 
The only other two people who were about 
the spot at the same moment were a man and 
his wife touring up to Scotland in a big 
Daimler car. They stopped to make some 
purchases at Bailey's stores, but neither of 
them alighted." 

14 Any description of the man ? " I asked. 

"Yes, the grocer's .assistant who went 
out to take the order remembers him. He 
describes him as a sporting-looking gentleman 
wearing a brown alpaca dust-coat and a 
grey Homburg hat. Such a person could 
not possibly have left the car and walked 
down the street without notice." 

" Any description of the woman ? " 

Rimmington shook his head. 

" To tell you the truth," he confessed, 
" I didn't ask for one. There were guns, 
golf clubs, and other luggage on the top 

174 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

motoring up to some place they had hired in 

ON the face of it, there seemed no possible 
connection between these tourists and 
a local bank robbery, Yet the thought 
of them lingered obstinately in my mind. A 
man and a woman, a bank robbery, and the 
fact that I was supposed to be safe in Nor- 
way ! i began to take up the pieces of the 
puzzle once more, and fit them in according 
to my own devices. 

* You seem to have clone everything 
possible, Rimmington," I said, at last; " but 
I think, as my Norway trip has fallen flat, I 
shall go up to Scotland for a fortnight, 
Would you like me to call over at Leeds and 
see if I can pick up anything ? " 

" Exactly what I hoped you would suggest/' 
he confessed, eagerly, " I have brooded over 
the affair so long that I can think of nothing 
but the obvious side. The Chief will give 
you a letter to the Leeds people. Would 
you like me to come with you ? " 

I shook my head, 

" Better not/' I told him. u Better for 
me to go as a stranger/' 

That night I travelled down to Leeds, 

There was nothing about the neighbour- 
hood which differed materially from R mi- 
ni in gton*s description, 1 paid a visit to the 

place at exactly the hour the robbery had 
been committed, walked from the grocery 
store to the bank, carefully timing myself, 
and made some trifling purchases inside the 
shop. letter in the day I tracked Roberson 
to ground in his favourite public-house. 
Choosing my opportunity, 1 addressed him, 

" Are you the man whom the police made 
such idiots of themselves about in this bank 
robbery ? " Tasked. 

" What the hell's that to do with you ? " 
he answered. 

His tone was truculent, but he obviously 
only needed humouring. 

11 Just this much," I replied. I am a 
journalist representing one of the picture 
papers. It would be worth a fiver to you if 
you would let me do a sketch of you." 

His manner changed at once. 

' You don't want an interview ? " 

L Not likely," I assured him, commencing 
a rough sketch in a notebook which I had 
put into my pocket for that purpose. ' 1 
read the case myself, A fool could see that 
you had nothing to do with it," 

He stopped drinking and looked at me 

"If 1 were the police," 1 went on, '" I 
should want to know a little more about the 
two tourists on their way to Scotland." 

" Then you're as big a fool as the police," 
he retorted, gruffly. " They hadn't nothing 
to do with it. They were filling up with 
petrol and neither of them budged from the 

Original from 

E. Phillips Oppenheim 


*' It was a curious moment* I saw the 

flash of the mans gun, and I saw the 

woman's hand restrain him, heard the single 

word whispered in his ear." 

I smiled in a superior way and went on 
sketching, He watched me with thinly- 
veiled anxiety. 

" Toffs they were/' he went on, " on their 
way up for a bit of sport." 

"Maybe/' I commented. "They didn't 
seem in any hurry about it." 

(< What do you mean ? " 

h I don't see why they stayed at the 
Queen's two nights/' I remarked. 

' Who said they did ? " he demanded, 
u They stayed one night, and grumbled at 
having to do that." 

M How do you know ? " I asked, looking 
up at him. 

" [ spoke to the chauffeur/' he replied, 
sullenly. " He told me my oil was leaking," 

I changed the subject, finished my ridicu- 
lous sketch, and handed over the five pounds. 
That, night I caught the mail train to 

IT took me less than a week to discover the 
whereabouts of the man and the woman 
who I learned were passing under the name 
of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Grover, On the 
morning after my arrival at the very remote 
corner of Scotland where they had taken up 
their temporary abode, 1 committed an 
indiscretion. I donned a knickerbocker suit 
and set out for a tramp over the moors. I 
had just clambered up to the top of a little 
ridge overlooking the sea, when I came face 
to face with a little party ascending it from 
the other side. The little party consisted of 
the person I had known chiefly as Mr. 
Stanfield, his wife, a villainous-looking 
gillie, and two dogs. It w T as a curious 
moment, full of the suggestions of tragedy, 
afterwards ridiculous in its conventionality. 
I saw the flash of the man's gun, and I saw 
the woman's hand restrain him, heard the 
single word whispered in his ear. I raised 
my cap, he followed suit. His gun hung 
idly under his arm. My hand was inside my 
coat-pocket, clutching something hard, 

" What an extraordinary meeting \ " Janet 
exclaimed, ^vith a faint smile* " So you 
sometimes take holiday, also, Sir Norman ? '* 

" Sometimes," I admitted, " I came home 
unexpectedly from Norway. I was disap* 
pointed in my fishing." 

1 Are you aweer that you Ye trespassing, 
mon ? " the gillie demanded, severely. 

" I'm afraid 1 didn't know it/' 1 replied. 
" There were no notices." 

II It doesn't matter/' Janet intervened. 
" We happen to be walking up a covey of 
birds this way/" 

* l I put nothing up/' I assured them. 

* h How long are you staying in these parts, 
Sir Norman ? " Stan field inquired. 

" About a week, if I like the golf/' I 

* K I've taken the Lodge, down there," he 
pointed out. " Call and see us before you 

H Wont you come and dine with us to- 
night ? " Janet invited, with a challenge in 
her eyes, 

I hesita 1 t^qj r J^^ ri i l ^jij r itation appealed to 

176 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

another. Stanfield watched me as though 
he were reading my thoughts. 

•' You need not take salt," he said, grimly. 

" I shall be delighted/' I assented. 

I spent the afternoon wandering about the 
moor, inspecting the golf links, and speaking 
on the telephone. Punctually at twenty 
minutes to eight i presented myself at the 
sombre-looking house. The summons of a 
harsh bell was answered by an immaculate 
butler. Janet, from the other end of the 
cool, white hall, came forward to meet me. 
Almost simultaneously the gong rang. The 
dinner was well cooked, the champagne of 
an excellent brand, and my host, with a 
twinkle in his eyes, called my attention to 
the fact that it was opened in my presence. 
As soon as the last course was concluded, 
Janet led the way out on to the flagged 
terrace. We sat in easy chairs, gazing over 
a strip of moorland away to the sea. 

1 You are a brave man, Sir Norman," my 
hostess said, abruptly. 

4 Why ? " I asked. 

" You know — and you alone — that I once 
killed a man — although you don't altogether 
know why," she went on, softly. " How do 
you know that I have not within me the 
makings of a modern Lucrezia ? I have 
read quite a good deal about poisons — I may 
be said even to have studied the subject — 
and you have delivered yourself into my 

" Why should you poison me ? " I argued. 
•' I will do both you and your husband the 
credit to believe that you don't bear malice. 
Revenge is a senseless sentiment. As regards 
our last conflict, I probably prevented your 
drawing a matter of a hundred thousand 
pounds from the insurance company for the 
pretended loss of your necklace, but that 
was all in the day's work. I was paid to 
match my wits against yours, and I did it. 
There is no one particularly anxious to take 
proceedings against either of you for that 
little — error of judgment." 

My host leaned forward in his chair. His 
face was solemn and brooding, his gaze was 
hard and intent. 

'• You have things against me dating from 
before that," he said. 

1 nodded. 

" But I am in the same position as Scotland 
Yard," I reminded him. 44 For those things 
1 have no case. For those misdemeanours 
of which I suspect you in the past, I could 
at the present moment go only so far as to 
procure a warrant charging you with 
feloniously wounding a police inspector. 
For the rest, I suspect but I have no proof." 

" You suspect what ? " he asked 

I shook my head. 

" There are limits to my candour," I 
protested, mildly, " You must "admit that 

I am not secretive or unduly aloof, inasmuch 
as I dine at your table, discuss your pecca- 
dilloes, and pass on, like an ordinary guest. 
What I may suspect in the past I keep to 
myself. I am your enemy, and you know it. 
If it pays you to attempt to murder me, I 
imagine you will try." 

"Janet would desert me if I "did," he 
declared, with a grim smile. " She finds 
these little conferences with you so inspiring." 

She looked at me with that wonderful 
smile of hers. 

' I do not like to hear you say that we are 
enemies," she murmured. " I would rather 
think that we are like the soldiers who fight 
in two opposing armies. We fight because 
it is our duty. So we are enemies because 
it is our duty. Even that does not interfere 
with personal feelings." 

* That is true," I admitted, carelessly. 
" I could never absolutely dislike a man who 
played such good golf as your husband." 

44 And what about me ? " she demanded, 
with some simulated show of peevishness. 

'* You drive me to be obvious," I replied. 
" No one could possibly dislike a person who 
contributed to the beauty of the world." 

She laughed softly. 

' Why, you are a courtier. Sir Norman," 
she declared. " Your compliments and the 
perfume of those roses and the flavour of 
the Benedictine are getting into my head. 
I begin to picture you as the serpent who 
has crawled into this Utopian Paradise." 

" Talking about golf," her husband inter- 
vened in a harsh tone, 44 what about a game. 
Sir Norman } Will you play me to-morrow 
morning ? " 

44 With pleasure," I assented. 

" At ten o'clock ? " 

" I will be in the club-house," 1 promised 

AT five minutes to ten on the following 
^ morning I watched Mr. James Stan- 
field stroll across towards the club- 
house. I waved my hand and stepped back 
into the locker-room. Three or four men in 
tweeds and golfing outfit were waiting there. 
In five minutes my prospective opponent 
entered. In five seconds the handcuffs were 
upon his wrist and one of the three apparent 
golfers had the matter in hand. 

4 You are charged," he said, " with 
feloniously wounding William Harmell, mana- 
ger, and John Stokes, clerk, of Browns 
Bank, in the Men wood Road, Leeds, and 
with stealing from the premises the sum of 
seven thousand pounds. 1 should recom- 
mend you to come with us quietly and to 
reserve for the present anything you may 
have to say." 

Looking* at him as he stood leaning a little 
against his own locker, I could have sworn 

E. Phillips Oppenheim 

J 77 

* If it pays you to attempt to murder me, 1 imagine you will try/ 

* Janet would desert me if I did,' he declared/* 

.-^ jm. .-» I . - H - _ ■ 1 1 l 1 1 1 loi Trorn 


i?8 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

that there was no manner of change 
in the face or expression of my 
enemy. He ignored the others and 
looked across at me, 

" This is your doing ? " he asked. 

*' Altogether," I admitted* 

" You knew it — last night ? " 

*' It was you who reminded me that 
I need not take salt/' I replied. 

"The trick is to you/' he con- 
fessed. " I am ready, gentlemen." 

He walked quietly out to a waiting 
motor-car, with a burly policeman on 
either side of him, and a very im- 
portant man from Scotland Yard in 
the party, Rimmington and 1 were 
left behind, and presently we essayed 
a round of golf. All the time my 
eyes kept straying towards the Lodge. 
;N ; o sign, however, came from there. 

k " I still/' Rimmington remarked, 
as we waited for a few minutes on 
the tenth tee, * l don't quite under- 
stand how you tumbled to this affair 
so quickly/ 1 

l " It was quite easy when you once 
admit the possibility of the occupants 
of the Daimler car being concerned/' 
I replied. " Of course. Ho hereon was 
in it up to the eyes. It was Stan- 
held who drove up in Roberson's 
Ford and went direct to the bank. 
The Daimler car was already there, 
containing Janet Stan field and Rober- 
son, wearing a grey Horn burg hat and 
a linen duster. The chauffeur brought 
into the store a small order which the 
grocer's assistant packed and took 
out, The chauffeur was taking ad- 
vantage of the delay to fill up with 
petrol- The moment Stan field de- 
scended from the Ford and made his 
way to the bank, Roberson slipped 
off his linen duster, produced a 
panama hat which he pulled over his 
ryes, and made his purchases in the 
shop. He came out just as Stanfield 
reappeared, and drove the Ford away, 
Stanfield just stepped into the 
Daimler, put on his linen duster and 
grey Horn burg hat, and off they 
started. The idea was to confuse, 
and at first it succeeded. The whole affair 
was ingenious, from the selection of that 
particular bank, which is wickedly isolated, 
to the exact location of the Daimler car, 
which made anyone on the off-side almost 
in visible/' 

"It's pretty generous of you to let mc take 
the credit of this/* Rimmington remarked 

It Stanfield turns out to be Pugsley, and 
Pugsley the man I believe him to be/' I said, 
* I shall need no other reward than the joy 
of having brought him to book " 

" Do you believe him to be Michael 
Sayers ? " Rimmington asked. 

" I am absolutely certain of it/* 1 

We completed our round, lunched and 
played again. There came no sign from the 
Lodge, Somehow or other, the silence 
seemed to me ominous. Towards evening 
I began to get uneasy. Just as we were 
sitting down to dinner, I was fetched to the 
telephone. Oriojrul fn m , . „ ^ 

" J i^teffi§^^^ the voice l 

E. Phillips Oppenheim 



4 If you aie going to shoot, let's have it over quickly/ 1 answered." 

heard declared, '* Are vou Sir Norman 

Greyes ? " 

" Yes/' I answered. 

* J Have you heard the news ? " 

" I have heard no particular news since 

early this morning/' I replied. 

11 Stanfield escaped eleven miles from 

here," the Inspector declared, gloomily. 
" Escaped ? Ridiculous ! " I exclaimed, 
" He did it, anyhow. He shot both his 

guards with an automatic pistol fixed in the 

sole of one foot and worked with the toe of 

the other. Mr. Gorman from Scotland Yard 
is seriously wounded, and one of the others 
is shot in the leg. Stanfield then threatened 
the driver until he released him from the 
handcuffs and took him to within a mile of a 
railway station. There he tied, the man up, 
drove the car on himself, and disappeared. 
So far we have no news/' 

I could make no intelligible reply. I 
muttered something to the effect that 
Rimmington and I would come on to the 

poUc Tlt/B6i¥f .fffjffl&S the raorniog - 

i8o The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

Then I walked outside, a little giddy, sick at 
heart, furious with myself and Fate. I 
stood looking towards the Lodge until at 
last I yielded to an irresistible impulse. I 
hastened across the few yards of heather- 
grown common, crossed the road, made my 
way up the straggling avenue, and rang the 
great front-door bell. There was a suggestion 
of emptiness about its rankling echoes, no 
sound of anyone moving or stirring within. 
I was indeed on the point of turning away 
when the great door swung silently open. 
Janet stood there, looking out at me. 

I freely admit that I lost my nerve. I lost 
my poise, and with it all the gifts which 
enable a man to face an exceptional situation. 
For this woman showed no signs of any 
mental disturbance. I had never seen her 
look more beautiful. She wore a loose 
white gown, open at the throat and tied 
with a girdle at the waist. Her hair shone 
like burnished copper, her eyes were almost 
fiercely, yet softly, bright. She moved away 
from the door. 

" Come in," she invited. " I have been 
expecting you." 

She led the way to the terrace, and sank 
back on to the divan, where, apparently, she 
had been restyig. 

*' Judas ! " she murmured. 

" You know, then ? " I demanded, harshly. 

" Everything — even the last little episode. 
What fools you policemen are ! " 

" He isn't safe yet," I muttered. 

She laughed mockingly. 

4 * I worry no more about him," she de- 
clared. "It is not an equal struggle. I 
worry only about myself." 

*' Alone — here ! " I echoed, dimly conscious 
of the fact that I had been aware of it all the 

She nodded. 

" Harding, our butler-chauffeur and con- 
federate, has taken the car — where, you can 
guess. Our gillie broke his leg this morning 
and has gone to hospital. I am not afraid 
of burglars, but I am terrified of mice, and 
the place is overrun with them. Also, I 
simply loathe the idea of having to get up 
and make my own coffee in the morning." 

I rose to my feet. 

" There are empty rooms at the Dormy 
House," I told her, " where you could obtain 
service and be made quite comfortable. I 
am going back now. Shall I bespeak one 
for you ? " 

" You would really have me there," she 
asked, curiously, " under the same roof as 
your august and respectable self ? " 

" Why not ? " 

" The wife of a famous criminal," she 
reminded me, " the wife of the man whom 

you have betrayed ! You and I share a 
secret, too, don't we ? Would you vouch 
for my — respectability ? " 

I moved a step towards her. Her eyes 
were filled with a mingled light, a light of 
allurement and cruelty. Her lips were 
moist and quivering — was it with anger ? 
A long, bare arm was withdrawn from behind 
her head. Then a voice fell upon the 
throbbing silence like a douche of cold water. 

" Hands up— like lightning ! " 

I obeyed. I recognized the voice of the 
man in Harding's livery. It was Stanfield 
who had crept in upon us, unheard. 

" A mixture of Lothario and Inspector 
Bucket ! " he mocked. " Any prayers to 
say ? " 

" If you are going to shoot, let's have it 
over quickly," I answered. 

The woman slipped from the divan and 
stood between us. 

" Don't be absurd," she said to the new- 
comer. " We couldn't afford to part with 
Sir Norman. Life would be too dull without 
him. Put him on parole. He is perfectly 

Stanfield lowered his pistol. 

" You are right," he admitted. " Take 
your choice, Greyes — twelve hours' silence 
or Eternity." 

" I will be silent for twelve hours," I 

He pointed to the door. 

" I cannot have the last few hours I may 
ever spend with my wife disturbed," he 
said. " Kindly leave us." 

I went without a backward glance. I 
opened and closed the front door and walked 
down the straight avenue. In the woods 
beyond, the owls were hooting. Bats flew 
through the twilight before me, and a quarter 
of the yellow moon showed behind the hills. 
I realized all these things dimly. There was 
a mist before my eyes, a cloud befogging my 
brain. For those few moments, Stanfield 's 
escape, the steadiness of his automatic 
pointed directly at my heart, were vague 
memories only. I was angry and humiliated. 
I was filled with a man's hatred of his own 

Rimmington was sitting in the porch 
smoking when I got back. He moved his head 
towards the Lodge. It was obvious from his 
dejection that he, too, had heard from 

" What do you think about taking a look 
round there ? " he suggested. 

I think that, if anything, I went beyond 
the obligations of my parole. 

" Quite useless," I replied, tersely. " Let's 
have a game of billiards and try to forget 
the damned business." 

(Xext month : 



Honour of Monsieur Lutarfatfty 



A Corner^rvWbrms 


MY old friend Wienershnkel — I should 
say Wynne, for that is how he pre- 
fers nowadays to see his name 
spelt — is the proprietor of one of 
the oldest-established and most reputable 
bucket-shops in Copt hall Avenue, There is 
no shrewder man of business in the City. 
Never once has Wynne been in jail- I can't 
tell you how often they have tried to put him 
there, but he baa done them every time. 1 tell 
you, he is clever. But it is not with Wynne 
as a man of business that I am concerned, 

He has another side. You will never guess 
what it is, so I may as %vell tell you. He is a 
sportsman to the core of his being, Yes, 
this astute, rapacious adventurer of the Stock 
Markets is a sea angler of the most earnest 
description. Not a Sunday passes from 
January to December without witnessing the 
arrival of my dear old Wynne, Loaded with 
his rods, his paternosters, and his bait-cans , 
upon the point of Brighton, Deal, or some 
other pier. He is as indefatigable as he is 
regular ; always the first angler to arrive, he 
is ever the last to depart. You would hardly 
know Wynne at these times. He is no longer 
the keen man of business, with an eye open 
singly to the main chance ; he is the sports- 
man, with a soul aflame for the capture ami 
destruction of dabs, gurnards, and starfish. 
Business affairs, though in their way splendid 
enough, are, after all, sordid when compared 
with the things (whatever they may be) 
which occupy the thoughts of the sea angler, 
That the thoughts of Wynne are not 
sordid when he is fishing is pretty conclu- 

sively proved by the fact that he never 
catches anything at all except, now and then, 
the girders of a pier or somebody else's baits. 
Never yet has he landed a fish, He is either 
the most unlucky or most incompetent sea 
angler in Great Britain ; that is clear. But 
what I say is, a man who can go on fishing 
year after year, winter and summer, rain or 
shine, storm or calm, freezing or boiling, 
with never a fin to show for it, cannot — I say 
he cannot- be actuated by motives of gain, 
Such a man can be nothing but a sportsman 
of the very purest ray. It is obvious. 

I hope you won't think that I reflect upon 
his sportsmanship when I tell you that 
Wynne has nearly all his life cherished the 
ambition to obtain a prize in an angling 
tournament. That doesn't dim his lustre 
for you, I believe. It should, on the con- 
trary, brighten it + If it were a mere suit- 
case or tantalus that he was after, it might 
dim him, I admit. But to think that would 
be to wrong Wvnne grievously. He has all 
the suit-cases and tantaluses he can possibly 
require. Prizes to a man like Wynne are 
symbols merely. They are glory in material 
form, It has been glory — reputation — 
that Wynne has been after all these years. 

He wants to be pointed out in Lothbury 
as the man who, for example, came out top 
of thirty thousand at Bexhill, or the man 
who broke all the records for Pegwell Bay, 
or the man who landed the biggest known 
codling at Broads t airs in August, 191 4, 
That's all he wants. An von e else may have 


A Corner in Worms 

I repeat, the man is a sportsman through 
and through, 

Now listen to this and then tell me if you 
think there is anything sordid or material 
about Wynne — -Wynne the angler, I mean, 
of course. 

A few months ago the championships of 
Goodwin's Bay were about to be held, and 
Wynne (who belongs to every sea-angling 
club in South- Eastern England) had entered 
his name as usual and for every event. 
Some weeks before the date that had been 
fixed he had what is at present called a 
brain-storm. He had just made a hundred 
and twenty thousand pounds, he and several 
associates having engineered a highly suc- 
cessful corner in calico. His thoughts were 
naturally attuned to the engineering of 
corners. And so, while he was furbishing up 
his tackle one evejiing for the coming contest 
at Goodwin's Bay, he suddenly slapped his 
knee and cried : ' + Eureka ! JP He didn't 
know what Eureka means ; he only knew 
that it is the proper exclamation with which 
to hail the birth of a bright idea. 

And what was his bright idea ? 

Nothing less than to go down to Good- 
wins Bay, just before the meeting, and 
corner lug and rag. 

What, pray, is lug ? What may rag be ? 

Lug, my poor friend, is an obscene and 
hairy worm, about as long as your foot, 
which lurks in the sand and is dug up and 
dragged out in hundreds by the longshore- 
men and sold to sea anglers for bait. Rag 
is another outrage of the same kind. It 

differs from lug only in the degree of its 
obscenity. Lug and rag are odious-looking 
creatures, but the fishes love them, and the 
sea anglers swear by them, beyond all other 
baits. In fact, without a large supply of lug 
and rag no sea angler will approach the 
ocean with any kind of confidence, To be 
without lug or rag is, to the sea angler, 
almost what to be without cartridges is to 
the gunner, or to be without beer is to the 

Do you grasp the significance of Wynne's 
project now ? I hope so. You see— don't 
you ? — that if he could secure all the avail- 
able supplies of lug and rag for the day of 
the championships, he would be in an almost 
unassailable position. No one else would 
have a chance against liim. 

I maintain, therefore, that for a brain- 
storm Wynne's brain-storm was something 
like a brain -storm. 

He did this thing. He turned over all the 
bucket -selling to his partner, went down to 
Goodwin's Bay three clear days before the 
date of the competition, and got into touch 
with the entire bait-digging population of 
the place, When, on the eve of the contest, 
he rested from his labours, he had contracts 
in his pocket covering the entire local harvest 
of lug and rag for the succeeding twenty -four 
hours. This, I may tell you, cost him a good 
deal in earnest money ; but what were 
trouble and money to Wynne when his 
reputation as a sportsman was concerned ? 
Nothing. Nothing whatever. 

You are to know that lug and rag can 

He got into touch with the bait-digging population.. M ^ „ . 


William Caine and H, M. Bateman 


* They begged for worms at any price. In vain/' 

only be delved out of the sands when the 
tide is out. You are also to know that the 
competition was timed to last from 10,30 a.m. 
to 4.30 p,m., when there would be water 
under the whole length of the pier, and p con- 
sequently, over those sands where dwell the 
worms aforesaid. Of all this Wynne was 
well aware ; indeed, his whole scheme de- 
pended on it. He was quite certain of his 
ground, because these tidal arrangements 
are not accidental. The officials of Trinity 
House decide them in consultation with the 
editor of Whitaker's Almanack and the 
secretary of the British Sea Anglers' Associa- 
tion. Oh ! Wynne knew exactly what he 
was doing. 

Day dawned upon the backs of a hundred 
and fifty longshoremen howking out the lug 
and rag from their holes. When the tide 
flowed and interrupted their labours the 
number of the worms which were held at 
Wynne's sole disposal staggers belief and 

Wynne, furnished with n bu-ge l>a£ of coin, 
stood at the foot of the pier^ ; one by one 
the longshoremen brought him their treasure 
and poured it out of buckets into the bait- 
cans with which Wynne had surrounded 
himself. At last the final lug was delivered 
up, the ultimate rag exchanged for copper. 

Wynne, owner of every sand- worm in 
Goodwin's Bay, stood, master of the situa- 
tion, to await the arrival of the sea anglers. 
Their train was due in at 10,12. 

As for the longshoremen, having nothing 
more to do at the pier, these persons betook 
themselves to the drin king-houses of Good- 
win's 1 Bay. 

The 10.12 arrived, the sea anglers pre- 
cipitated themselves out of the station and 
ran furiously to the pier, feeling in their 
pockets for money wherewith to purchase 
bait. They made no doubt, the unsuspect- 
ing wretches, that they would, as always 
upon this great day of the Goodwin s Bay 
year, be greeted with the lusty cry, from a 
hundred and fifty longshore throats, of 

Fine lug, gentlemen ; good rag, gentlemen. 
Six a penny. Good lug. Fine rag. Thir- 
dcen fer tuppence," 

To their stupefaction there was not a 
single worm -merchant in sight. Only Wynne, 
the centre of bait -cans, stood by the turn- 
stiles, hellishly smiling. 

The sea anglers halted in a body, question- 
ing with large eyes the meaning of this 
sinister spectacle. Then suddenly they real- 
ized what had happened (for sea anglers 
have brains, I may tell you), and at once 
they were again in motion, charging down 
upon Wynne with shouts of " How much the 
lug ? What price the rag ? " 

Wynne waved them away and held up his 
hand for silence. "No price the lug/* he 
said. " The rag is not for sale/* 

A scream of anguish arose. Poor devils ! 
they knew Wynne's City reputation and they 
understood that they were up against it* 
They wasted no time in supplication, but 
began instantly to bid against one another 
for the bait, 

"" I'll give vou sixpence a dozen/* they 
shouted, " I'll give a shilling, Two 
shillings. Half a crown. Five bob.'* 

Xow this vj where the proof of Wynne's 
perfec &N| ^ m a^ c ^ fr . He had 


A Corner in Worms 

these men at his mercy. They were crazy 
for the lug arid the rag without which their 
angling must be a mockery. They were 
losing their heads all round him, offering 
shillings for penn'orths, bidding crowns for 
what had cost him but a copper or two. 
Yet he held to his purpose. He kept his 
vision. He stuck to his worms. 

After that I imagine that you won't he 
inclined to think that there was very much 
sordidness about Wynne — I mean always 
Wynne the angler. 

Presently the sea anglers understood that 
they were losing their time with Wynne. 
They began to scatter in search of long- 
shoremen. The longshoremen were already 
beginning to straggle, refreshed, out of thr*se 
places into which they had latelv vanished, 
The sea anglers prostrated themselves before 

promptings of his mercantile instincts. He 
bade them be silent. He gave up gold for 
glory. Well, I say that was a fine thing, 
finely done. That's all. I only say that. 

The pity is that Wynne should have got 
nothing out of it. He deserved a better for- 
tune. The fact remains that, for all his 
worms, he never caught a thing all day but 
a pair of old trousers. Awful old trousers 
they %vere, obviously discarded by a long- 
shoreman, and a longshoreman, as is well 
known, has to be practically arrestable 
before he discards his trousers. 

Ye*, that's all that Wynne fished out of 
the sea, and with onlv a pair of trousers to 
show he could qualify for none of the prizes. 
Whereas (for no other sea angler, naturally, 
caught so much as a button) if he had man- 
aged to secure even a pale-green crab he 

Wynne deserved a betfcsr fortune/* 

those longshoremen and begged for worms 
at any price. In vain. 

Worms in Goodwin's Bay were "' off " 
until the tide should recede. And by that 
time the competition would have been 
fought out. Well, 1 don't want to linger 
over the sorrows of these poor men, and I 
don't want unduly to prolong tins historv. 
I was, after all, only concerned to show you 
how sportsmanship can ennoble a man, how 
it can purge him of all desire for material 
gain. I suppose Wynne could have made as 
much as two pounds ten, or perhaps even 
three pounds profit, if he had Listened to the 


would have won every prize there was— for 
the greatest number of fishes, greatest aggre- 
gate weight, greatest average, heaviest single 
fish, and fish in best condition, as well as all 
the booby prices for the smallest number, 
smallest aggregate weight, smallest average, 
lightest fish, shortest fish, and worst-con- 
ditioned fish P But it was not to be. 

However, he has the consolation that he 
acted like a true sportsman. Of that Wynne 
is not to be robbed. And he is able, at any 
rate, to be pointed out in Threadueedle 
Street as the man who cornered worms. 

That is, in a way, .a distinction. 
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She is Lady 

Of course, I remember 

^ES; she's 
a beau- *< 
t i f u 1 
There's no 
doubt about 
that. What 
did you say 
her- name 
was? " 

"I haven't mentioned her 
name/' 1 returned. "But there's 
no secret about it. 
Svlvia Clavering/* 

" Ah ! Sylvia. 
now t '\ <r # 

He drained his glass of brandy and sat 
back in his chair, while his eyes followed 
one of the most beautiful women in London 
as she threaded her way through the tables 
towards the entrance of the restaurant. 
An " obsequious head-waiter bent almost 
doubte as she passed ; her exit, as usual* 
befitted one of the most be -photographed 
women of Society. And it was not until the 
doors had swung to behind her and her 
escort that the man I had been dining with 
spoke again. 

" I guess that little bow she gave as she 
passed here was yours, not mine/' he said, 
with the suspicion of a smile* 

" Presumably/* I answered a little curtly, 
" Unless you happen to know her. 1 have 
that privilege.". 

His smile grew a trifle more pronounced, 
though his eyes were set and steady. 
" Know her ? " He beckoned to the waiter 
for more brandy, " No r I can't say I know 
her. In fact, my sole claim to acquaintance- 
ship is that I carried her for three miles in the 
dark one night, slung over my shoulder like 
a sack of potatoes. But I don't know her/' 

M You did what ? 1T I cried, staring at him 
in amazement, 

" Sounds a bit over the odds, I admit." 
He was carefully cutting the end off his 
cigar. " Nevertheless it stands." 

Now when any man states that he has 
carried a woman for three miles, whether it 
be in the dark or not, and has followed up 
such an introduction so indifferently that 

Vol. IsiLL— 13. 





BY the woman fails 

even to recog- 
nize him after- 
wards, there 
would seem to 
be the promise 
of a story. 
But when the 
woman is one of 
the Lady Sylvia 
Claverings of this world, and the 
man is of the type of my dinner 
companion, the promise resolves 
itself into a certainty. ; »/' 
Merton was one of those indefinable 
characters who defy placing. You felt" that 
if you landed in Yokohama, and he was with 
you. you would instinctively rely on him for 
information as to the best thing to do and 
the best way to do it. There seemed to be 
no part of the globe/ from the South Sea 
Islands going westward, to Alaska/ with 
which he was not as well acquainted as the 
ordinary man is with his native village. At 
the time I did not know him well. The 
dinner was only our third meeting, and 
during the meal we confined ourselves to the 
business which had been the original cause 
of our running across one another at all. 
But even in that short time i had realized 
that Billy Merton was a white man. And 
not only was he straight, but he was essen- 
tially a useful person to have at one's side in 
a tight comer. 

** Are you disposed to elaborate your some- 
what amazing statement ? " I asked, after a 

For a moment or two he hesitated, and his 
eyes became thoughtful. 

. - * I don't suppose there's any reason why 
I shouldn't/' he answered, slowly. *• It's 
ancient history now — ten years or so/' 

" That was just about the time she was 
married,' 1 I remarked, 

He nodded. ** She was on her honey- 
moon when it happened. Well, if you 
want to hear the yarn, come round to my 

" Why, certainly/' I said r beckoning for 
the trill. 'Let's get on at once; I'm 
■right, i^a, by h, c, MrxJiriginal from 



The Man Who Could Not Get Drunk 

" Do you know Africa at all ? hl he asked 
me, as we pulled our chairs up to the fire. 
We had the room almost to ourselves ; a 
gentle snoring from the other fireplace be- 
tokened the only other occupant. 

" Egypt," I answered. " Parts of South 
Africa. The usual thing : nothing out of the 

He nodded, "It was up the West Coast 
that it happened," he began, after his pipe 
was going to his satisfaction. " And though 
I've been in many God -forsaken spots in my 
life, I've never yet struck anything to 
compare with that place, Nwambi it was 
called — just a few shacks stretching in from 
the sea along a straggling, dusty street — one 
so-called shop and a bar. It called itself an 
hotel, but Lord help the person who tried to 
put up there. It was a bar pure and simple, 

though no one could call the liquor that. 
Lukewarm gin, some vile substitute for 
whisky, the usual short drinks, and some 
local poisons formed the stock ; I ought to 
know — I was the bar- tender. 

** For about three miles inland there 
stretched a belt of stinking swamp — one 
vast malaria hot-bed — and over this belt 
the straggling street meandered towards the 
low foot-hills beyond. At times it almost 
lost itself : but if you didn't give up hope, 
or expire from the stench, and cast about 
you'd generally find it again leading you on 
to where you felt you might get a breath 
of God's fresh air in the hills. As a matter 
of fact you didn't ; the utmost one can 
say is that it wasn't quite so appall- 
ing as in the swamp itself. Mosquitoes! 
Heavens ! they had to be seen to be believed. 

Hii eyes followed one of the most beautiful women in London as she threaded her way through 

by dc 




Sapper" (H. C, McNeile) 


I've watched 'em there literally like a grev 

Merton smiled reminiscently. 

" That— and the eternal boom of the sea 
on the bar half a mile out, made up Nwambi. 
How any white man ever got through alive 
if he had to stop there any length of time is 
beyond me ; to be accurate, very few did, 
It was a grave, that place t ana only the 
down-and~outers went there. At the time 
I was one myself * 

"The sole reason for its existence at all 
was that the water alongside the quay was 
deep enough for good-sized boats to come in, 
and most of the native produce from the 
district inland found its way down to 
Nwambi for shipment. Once over the belt 
of swamp and a few miles into the hillfc the 

climate was much better, and half-a-dozen 
traders in a biggish way had bungalows there. 
They were Dagos most of them — it wasn't a 
British part of the West Coast — and 1 frankly 
admit that my love for the Dago has never 
been very great. But there was one Scotch- 
man, Mc Andrew, amongst them — and he 
was the first fellow who came into the 
bar after I'd taken over the job. He was 
down for the night about some question of 

" 'You're new/ he remarked, leaning 
against the counter. ' What's happened to 
the other fellow ? Is he dead ? ' 

1 * Probably/ I returned. 
' What do vou want ? ' 

" H Gin— double tot. What's 
your name ? ' 

the tablet. Her exit, as usual* befitted one of the most be 'photographed women of Society/ 



The Man Who Could Not Get Drunk 

" I told him, and he pondered the matter 
while he finished his drink. 

" ' Well,' he said at length, * I warned your 
predecessor, and I'll warn you. Don't fall 
foul of my manager down here. Name of 
Mainwaring — I do not think. Don't give 
him advice about keeping off the drink, or 
he'll kill you. He's killing himself, but that's 
his business. I'm tough — you look tough, 
but he's got us beat to a frazzle. And take 
cover if he ever gets mixed up with any of the 
Dagos — the place isn't healthy.' 

" It was just at that moment that the 
door swung open and a tall, lean fellow 
lounged in. He'd got an eyeglass screwed 
into one eye, and a pair of perfectly-fitting 
polo boots with some immaculate white 
breeches encased his legs. His shirt was silk, 
his sun-helmet spotless ; in fact, he looked 
like the typical English dude of fiction. 

" ' My manager, Mainwaring,' said 
McAndrew, by way of introduction. 

" Mainwaring stared at me for a moment 
or two — then he shrugged his shoulders. 

11 ' You look sane ; however, if you come 
here you can't be. Double gin — and one for 

" He spoke with a faint, almost affected 
drawl, and as I poured out the drinks I 
watched him covertly. When he first came 
in I had thought him a young man ; now I 
wasn't so sure. It was his eyes that made 
one wonder as to his age — they were so 
utterly tired. If he was indeed drinking him- 
self to death, there were no traces of it as 
yet on his face, and his hand as he lifted his 
glass was perfectly steady. But those eyes 
of his — I can see them now. The cynical 
bitterness, the concentrated weariness of all 
Hell was in them. And it's not good for 
any man to look like that ; certainly not a 
man of thirty-five, as I afterwards discovered 
his age to be." 

MERTON paused and sipped his whisky- 
and-soda, while from the other side of 
the room came indications that the 
sleeper still slept. 

" I never found out what his real name 
was," he continued, thoughtfully. " Inci- 
dentally, it doesn't much matter. We knew 
him as Mainwaring, and the J. which pre- 
ceded it in his signature was assumed to 
stand for James or Jimmy. Anyway, he 
answered to it, which was the main point. 
As far as I know, he never received a letter 
and he never read a paper, and I guess I 
got to know him better than anyone else in 
that accursed hole. Every morning, punctual 
to the second at eleven o'clock, he'd stroll 
into the bar and have three double-gins. 
Sometimes he'd talk in his faint, rather 
pleasant drawl ; more often he'd sit silently 
at one of the rickety tables, staring out to 

by LiC 


sea, with his long legs stretched out in front 
of him. But whichever he did — whatever 
morning it was — you could always see your 
face in his boots. 

" I remember once, after I'd been there 
about a month, I started to pull his leg about 
those boots of his. 

" ' Take the devil of a long time cleaning 
them in the morning, don't you, Jimmy ? ' 
I said, as he lounged up to the bar for his 
third gin. 

" * Yes,' he answered, leaning over the 
counter so that his face was close to mine. 
' Got anything further to say about my 
appearance ? ' 

'* * Jimmy,' I replied, ' your appearance 
doesn't signify one continental damn to me. 
But as the only two regular British hahUuis 
of this first-class American bar, don't let's 

" He grinned — a sort of slow, lazy grin. 

" - Think not ? ' he said. ' Might amuse 
one. However, perhaps you're right.' 

" And so it went on— one sweltering day 
after another, until one could have gone 
mad with the hideous boredom of it. I used 
to stand behind the bar there sometimes 
and curse weakly and foolishly like a child, 
but I never heard Mainwaring do it. What 
happened during those steamy nights in the 
privacy of his own room, when he — like the 
rest of us — was fighting for sleep, is another 
matter. During the day he never varied. 
Cold, cynical, immaculate, he seemed a being 
apart — above our little worries and utterly 
contemptuous of them. Maybe he was right 
— maybe the thing that had downed him 
was too big for foolish cursing. Knowing 
what I do now; a good many things are 
clear which one didn't realize at the time. 

" Only once, I think, did I ever get in 
the slightest degree intimate with him. It 
was latish one evening, and the bar was 
empty save for us two. I'd been railing 
against the fate that had landed me penniless 
in such an accursed spot, and after a while he 
chipped in, in his lazy drawl : — 

" ' Would a thousand be any good to 
you ? ' 

" I looked at him speechless. ' A thousand 
pounds ? ' I stammered. 

" ' Yes ; I think I can raise that for you.' 
He was staring in front of him as he spoke. 
* And yet I don't know. I've got more or 
less used to you and you'll have to stop a 
bit longer. Then we'll see about it.' 

" ' But, good heavens ! man,' I almost 
shouted, ' do you mean to say that you 
stop here when you can lay your hand on a 
thousand pounds ? ' 

" ' It appears so, doesn't it ? ' He rose 
and stalked over to the bar. ' It doesn't 
much matter where you stop, Merton, when 
you can't be in the one place where you'd 


" Sapper" (H. C. McNeile) 


sell your hopes of Heaven to be. And it's 
best, perhaps, to choose a place where the 
end will come quickly.' 

" With that he turned on his heel, and I 
watched him with a sort of dazed amaze- 
ment as he sauntered down the dusty road, 
white in the tropical moon, towards his own 
shack. A thousand pounds ! The thought 
of it rang in my head all through the night. 
A thousand pounds ! A fortune ! And be- 
cause, out in death-spots like that, men are 
apt to think strange thoughts — thoughts that 
look ugly by the light of day — I found myself 
wondering how long he could last at the rate 
he was going. Two — sometimes three — 
bottles of gin a day : it couldn't be long. 
And then — who knew ? It would be quick, 
the break-up ; all the quicker because there 
was not a trace of it now. And perhaps 
when it came he'd remember about that 
thousand. Or I could remind him. M 

Merton laughed grimly. 

" Yes, we're pretty average swine, even 
the best of us, when we're up against it, and 
I lay no claims to be a plaster saint. But 
Fate had decreed that Jimmy Mainwaring 
was to find the end which he craved for 
quicker than he had anticipated. Moreover 
— and that's what I've always been glad 
about — it had decreed that he was to find 
it before drink had rotted that iron constitu- 
tion of his ; while his boots still shone and 
his silk shirts remained spotless. It had 
decreed that he was to find it in the way of 
all others that he would have chosen, had 
such a wild improbability ever suggested 
itself. Which is going ahead a bit fast 
with the yarn — but no matter. 

" ¥T was after I'd been there about three 
J months that the incident happened which 
was destined to be the indirect cause of 
his death. I told you, didn't I, that there 
were several Dago traders who lived up in the 
foothills, and on the night in question three 
of them had come down to Nwambi on 
business of some sort — amongst them one 
Pedro Salvas, who was as unpleasant a 
specimen of humanity as I have ever met. 
A crafty, orange -skinned brute, who indulged, 
according to common knowledge, in every 
known form of vice, and a good many un- 
known ones too. The three of them were 
sitting at a table near the door when 
Mainwaring lounged in — and McAndrew's 
words came back to me. The Dagos had 
been drinking ; Jimmy looked in his most 
uncompromising mood. He paused at the 
door, and stared at each of them in turn 
through his eyeglass ; then he turned his 
back on them and came over to me. 

" I glanced over his shoulder at the 
three men, and realized there was trouble 
coming. They'd been whispering and 

by V_ 



muttering together the whole evening, though 
at the time I had paid no attention. But 
now Pedro Salvas, with an ugly flush on his 
ugly face, had risen and was coming towards 
the bar. 

'If one so utterly unworthy as I,' he 
snarled, ' may venture to speak to the so 
very exclusive Englishman, I would suggest 
that he does not throw pictures of his 
lady-loves about the streets.' 

'* He was holding something in his hand, 
and Jimmy swung round like a panther. 
His hand went to his breast pocket ; then I 
saw what the Dago was holding out. It was 
the miniature of a girl. And after that I 
didn't see much more ; I didn't even have 
time to take cover. It seemed to me that 
the lightning movement of Jimmy's left 
hand as he grabbed the miniature, and 
the terrific upper-cut with his right, were 
simultaneous. Anyway, the next second he 
was putting the picture back in his breast 
pocket, and the Dago, snarling like a mad 
dog, was picking himself out of a medley of 
broken bottles. That was phase one. 
Phase two was equally rapid, and left me 
blinking. There was the crack of a revolver, 
and at the same moment a knife stuck out 
quivering in the wall behind my head. Then 
there was a silence, and I collected my 
scattered wits. 

" The revolver, still smoking, was in 
Jimmy's hand : Salvas, his right arm 
dripping with blood, was standing by the 
door, while his two pals were crouching 
behind the table, looking for all the world 
like wild beasts waiting to spring. 

" ' Next time,' said Jimmy, ' I shoot to kill.' 

" And he meant it. He was a bit white 
round the nostrils, which is a darned 
dangerous sign in a man, especially if he's 
got a gun and you're looking down the 
business end of it. And no one knew it 
better than those three Dagos. They went 
on snarling, but not one of them moved an 

• ' Put your knives on that table, you 
scum/ ordered Jimmy. 

The other two obeyed, and he laughed 

' Now clear out. You pollute the air.' 

•• For a moment or two they hesitated : 
then Salvas, with a prodigious effort, regained 
his self-control. 

•' ' You are brave, Sen or Mainwaring, when 
you have a revolver and we are unarmed,' he 
said, with a sneer. 

" In two strides Jimmy was at the table 
where the knives were lying. He picked one 
up, threw me his gun, and pointed to the 
other knife. 

" * I'll fight you now, Salvas,' he answered, 
quietly. ' Knife to knife, and to a finish.' 

" But the Dago wasn't taking any, and 

V-m 1 Q 1 n d 1 Trom 


The Man Who Could Not Get Drunk 

'pon my soul I hardly blamed him. For if 
ever a man was mad, Jimmy Main waring 
was mad that night.; mad with the madness 
that knows no fear and is absolutely blind 
to consequences. 

'• ' I do not brawl in bars with drunken 
Englishmen/ remarked Salvas, turning on his 

" A magnificent utterance, but ill-advised 
with Jimmy as he was. He gave a short 
laugh and took a running kick, and Don 
Pedro Salvas disappeared abruptly into the 
night. And the other two followed with 

44 4 You'll be getting into trouble, old man,' 
I said, as he came back to the bar, ' if you 
start that sort of game with the Dagos.' 

44 1 The bigger the trouble the more I'll like 
it,' he answered, shortly. * Give me another 
drink. Don't you understand yet, Merton, 
that I'm beyond caring ? ' 

44 And thinking it over since, IVe come to 
the conclusion that he spoke the literal truth. 
It's a phrase often used, and very rarely 
meant ; in his case it was the plain, unvar- 
nished truth. Rightly or wrongly he had 
got into such a condition that. he cared not 
one fig whether he lived or died ; if anything, 
he preferred the latter. And falling foul of 
the Dago colony was a better way than most 
of obtaining his preference. 

44 Of course, the episode that night had 
shown me one thing : it was a woman who 
was at the bottom of it all. I didn't ask any 
questions ; he wasn't a man who took kindly 
to cross-examination. But I realized pretty 
forcibly that if the mere handling of her 
picture by a Dago had produced such a 
result, the matter must be serious. Who 
she was I hadn't any idea, or what was the 
trouble between them — and, as I say, I didn't 

44 And then one day a few weeks later I 
got the answer to the first question. Some- 
one left a month-old Taller in the bar, and 
I was glancing through it when Mainwaring 
came in. I reached up for the gin bottle 
to give him his usual drink, and when I 
turned round to hand it to him he was 
staring at one of the pictures with the look 
oi a dead man on his face. I can see him 
now with his knuckles gleaming white 
through the sunburn of his hands, and his 
great powerful chest showing under his shirt. 
He stood like that maybe for five minutes — 
motionless ; then, without a word, he swung 
round and left the bar. And I picked up 
the paper." 

Merton paused and drained his glass. 

*' Lady Sylvia's wedding ? " I asked, un- 
necessarily, and he nodded. 

44 So the first part of the riddle was solved," 
he continued, quietly. " And when two days 
passed by without a sign of Mainwaring, I 

Digitized by LiOOglC 

began to be afraid that he had solved his own 
riddle in his own way. But he hadn't ; he 
came into the bar at ten o'clock at night, and 
leaned up against the counter in his usual 

44 4 What have you been doing with 
yourself ? ' I said, lightly. 

44 4 I've been trying to get drunk,' he 
answered slowly, letting one of his hands 
fall on my arm with a grip like steel. 4 And, 
dear God ! I can't.' 

44 It doesn't sound much — told like this 
in the smoking-room of a London club. 
But though I've seen and heard many things 
in my life that have impressed me — horrible, 
dreadful things that I shall never forget — the 
moment of all others that is most indelibly 
stamped on my brain is that moment when, 
leaning across the bar, I looked into the 
depths of the soul of the man who called 
himself Jimmy Mainwaring — the man who 
could not get drunk." 

ONCE again he paused, and this time I did 
not interrupt him. He was back in that 
steaming night, with the smell of stale 
spirits in his nostrils and the sight of strange 
things in his eyes. And I felt that I, too, 
could visualize that tall, immaculate English- 
man leaning against the counter — the man 
who was beyond caring. 

" But I must get on with it," continued 
Merton, after a while. 4I The club will be 
filling up soon, and I've only got the finish 
to tell you now. And by one of those ex- 
traordinary coincidences which happen far 
more frequently in life than people will 
allow, the finish proved a worthy one. 

" It was about two days later. I was in 
the bar polishing the glasses when the door 
swung open and two men came in. They 
were obviously English, and both of them 
were dressed as if they were going to a 

" ' Thank heavens ! Tommy, here's a bar, 
at any rate/ said one of them. * I say, bar- 
man, what have you got ? ' 

" Well, I had a bit of a liver, and I disliked 
being called barman. 

'• 4 Several bottles of poison,' I answered, 
* and the hell of a temper.' 

44 The second one laughed, and after a 
moment or two the other joined in. 

' • I don't wonder at the latter commodity,' 
he said. ' This is a ghastly hole.' 

"'I wouldn't deny it,' I answered. 4 What, 
if I may ask, has brought you here ? ' 

44 4 Oh, we've had a small breakdown, 
and the skipper came in here to repair it. 
We've just come ashore to have a look 

'* I glanced through the window, and 
noticed for the first time that a steam yacht 
was lying ofi the shore She was a real 


"Sapper" (H. C. McNeile) 


" The next second Jimmy was putting the picture back in his breast pocket, and 
the Dago was picking himself out of a medley of broken bottles." 




Original from 


The Man Who Could Not Get Drunk 

beauty — looked about a thousand tons — and 
I gave a sigh of envy. 

" * You're not in want of a barman, by 
any chance, are you ? ' I said. * If so, I'll 
swim out and chance the sharks.' 

" ' 'Fraid we've got everything in that 
line,' he answered. - But select the least 
deadly of your poisons, and join us.' 

" And it was as I was pulling down the 
gin and vermouth that Jimmy Mainwaring 
came into the bar. He got about half-way 
across the floor, and then he stopped dead 
in his tracks. And I guess during the next 
two seconds you could have heard a pin 

" * So this is where you've hidden your- 
self,' said the smaller of the two men — the 
one who had done most of the talking. ' I 
don't think well trouble you for those drinks, 

" Without another word he walked out of 
the place — and after a moment or two the 
other man started to follow him. He 
hesitated as he got abreast of Jimmy, and 
then for the first time Mainwaring spoke : — 

" ' Is she here ? ' 
. " * Yes,' answered the other. ' On board 
the yacht. There's a whole party of us.' 

" And with that he stepped into the street 
and joined his pal. With a perfectly in- 
scrutable look on his face Jimmy watched 
them as they walked through the glaring sun 
and got into the small motor-boat that was 
waiting alongside the quay. Then he came 
up to the bar. 

" ' An artistic touch, doubtless, on the 
part of Fate,' he remarked, quietly. - But a 
little unnecessary.' 

" And I guess I metaphorically took off 
my hat to him at that moment. What he'd 
done, why he was there, I neither knew nor 
cared ; all that mattered to me was the 
way he took that last rotten twist of the 
surgeon's knife. Not by the quiver of an 
eyelid would you have known that anything 
unusual had happened : he drank his three 
double-gins at exactly the same rate as every 
other morning. And then he too swung out 
of the bar, and went back to his office in 
McAndrew's warehouse, leaving me to lie 
down on my bed and sweat under the 
mosquito curtains, while I wondered at the 
inscrutable working out of things. Was it 
blind, the Fate that moved the pieces ; or 
was there some definite pattern beyond our 
ken ? At the moment it seemed pretty blind 
and senseless ; later on — well, you'll be able 
to form your own opinion. 

" \/OU know how quickly darkness falls 

J in those latitudes. And it was just 

before sunset that I saw a boat 

shoot away from the side of the yacht 

and come full speed for the shore. I 

by V_ 



remember I wondered casually who was 
the mug who would leave a comfortable 
yacht for Nwambi, especially after the report 
of it that must have been given by our two 
morning visitors. And then it struck me that, 
whoever it might be, he was evidently in the 
deuce of a hurry. Almost before the boat 
came alongside a man sprang out and 
scrambled up the steps. Then at a rapid 
double he came sprinting towards me as I 
stood at the door of the bar. It was the 
smaller of the two men who had been ashore 
that morning, and something was evidently 
very much amiss. 

" ' Where is she ? ' he shouted, as soon as 
he came within earshot. ' Where's my wife, 
you damned scoundrel ? ' 

" Seeing that he was quite beside himself 
with worry and alarm, I let the remark go by. 

" ' Steady ! ' I said, as he came gasping 
up to me. f I haven't got your wife ; I 
haven't even seen her.' 

" ' It's that cursed card-sharper ! ' he cried. 
1 By God ! I'll shoot him like a dog, if 
he's tried any monkey-tricks ! ' 

" ' Dry up, and pull yourself together,' I 
said, angrily. ' If you're alluding to Jimmy 
Mainwaring ' 

" And at that moment Jimmy himself 
stepped out of his office and strolled across 
the road. 

*' ' You swine, you cursed card -cheat — 
where's Sylvia ? ' 

" ' What the devil are you talking about ? ' 
said Jimmy, and his voice was tense. 

" ' She came ashore this afternoon, saying 
she would return in an hour,' said the other 
man. * I didn't know it at the time, Mr. — 
er — Mainwaring, I believe you call yourself. 
The boat came back for her, and she was not 
there. That was four hours ago. Where is 
she ? ' 

" He was covering Jimmy with his revolver 
as he spoke. 

" ' Four hours ago, Clavering ! Good 
heavens ! man — put down your gun. This 
isn't a time for amateur theatricals.' He 
brushed past him as if he was non-existent 
and came up to me. ' Did you see Lady 
Clavering ? ' 

" ' Not a trace,' I answered, and the same 
fear was in both of us. 

" * Did she say what she was coming on 
shore for ? ' He swung round on the husband. 

" * To have a look round,' answered 
Clavering, and his voice had altered. No 
longer was he the outraged husband ; he was 
a frightened man relying instinctively on a 
bigger personality than himself. 

" ' If she's not about here, she must have 
gone inland,' said Jimmy, staring at me. 
4 And it'll be dark in five minutes.' 

" * My God ! ' cried Clavering, ' what are 
we to do ? She can't be left alone for the 

Original from 

« Sapper" (H. C. McNeile) 


night. Lost — in this cursed country ! She 
may have hurt herself — sprained her ankle.' 

* - For a moment neither of us answered 
him. Even more than he did we realized 
the hideous danger of a white woman alone 
in the bush inland. There were worse dangers' 
than snakes and wild animals to be feared. 
And it was as we were standing there staring 
at one another, and afraid to voice our 
thoughts, that one of McAndrew's native 
boys came down the street. He was running 
and out of breath ; and the instant he saw 
Jimmy he rushed up to him and started 
gabbling in the local patois. He spoke too 
fast for me to follow him, and Clavering, of 
course, couldn't understand a word. But 
we both guessed instinctively what he was 
talking about — and we both watched Jimmy's 
face. And as we watched it I heard Clavering 
catch his breath sharply. 
, ' - At last the boy finished, and Jimmy 
turned and looked at me. On his face was 
a look of such cold malignant fury that the 
question which was trembling on my lips 
died away, and I stared at him speechlessly. 

" ' The Dagos have got her,' he said, very 
softly. * Don Pedro Salvas is, I fear, a 
foolish man.' 

" Clavering gave a sort of hoarse cry, and 
Jimmy's face softened. 

•* * Poor devil,' he said. * Your job is 
going to be harder than mine. Go back to 
your yacht — get all your men on shore that 
you can spare — and if I'm not back in four 
hours, wait for dawn and then strike inland 
over the swamp. Find Pedro Salvas 's house 
— and hang him on the highest tree you can 

11 Without another word he swung on his 
heel and went up the street at a long, steady 
lope. Twice Clavering called after him, but 
he never turned his head or altered his stride 
— and then he started to follow himself. It 
was I who stopped him, and he cursed me 
like a child — almost weeping. 

"■' Do what he told you,' I said. * You'd 
never find your way ; you'd be worse than 
useless. I'll go with him : you get back and 
bring your men ashore.' 

" And with that I followed Jimmy. At 
times I could see him, a faint white figure in 
the darkness, as he dodged through that 
fever-laden swamp ; at times I found myself 
marvelling at the condition of the man, 
bearing in mind his method of living. 
Steadily, tirelessly, he forged ahead, and 
when we came to the foothills I hadn't 
gained a yard on him. 

" And then I began wondering what was 
going to happen when he reached Salvas's 
bungalow, and by what strange mischance 
the girl had met the owner. That it was 
revenge I was certain ; he had recognized 
her from the picture, and I remember thinking 

how bitter must have been his hatred of 
Mainwaring to have induced him to run 
such an appalling risk. For the risk was 
appalling, even in that country of strange 

" I don't think that Jimmy troubled his 
head over any such speculations. In his 
mind there was room for only one thought — 
an all-sufficient thought — to get his hands on 
Pedro Salvas. I don't think he even knew 
that I was behind him, until after it was 
over and the curtain was falling on the play. 
And then he had no time for me." 

MERTON gave a short laugh that had in 
it a touch of sadness. 

" A good curtain it was, too," he 
continued, quietly. " I remember I made a 
frantic endeavour to overtake him as he 
raced up to the house, and then, because I 
just couldn't help myself, I stopped and 
watched — fascinated. The window of the 
big living room was open, and the light 
blazed out. I suppose they had never 
anticipated pursuit that night. Leaning up 
against the wall was the girl, with a look 
of frozen horror on her face, while seated at 
the table were Pedro Salvas and three of his 
pals. And they were drinking. 

'It all happened very quickly. For one 
second I saw Jimmy Mainwaring framed in 
the window — then he began shooting. I 
don't think I've mentioned that he could 
shoot the pip out of the ace of diamonds nine 
times out of ten at twenty yards, and his 
madness did not interfere with his aim. And 
that night he was stark, staring mad. I 
heard three shots — so close together that 
only an artist could have fired them out of 
the same revolver and taken aim ; I saw the 
three friends of Pedro Salvas collapse limply 
in their chairs. And then there was a pause ; 
I think Jimmy wanted to get at him with his 

" But it was not to be. Just for a moment 
the owner of the bungalow had been so 
stupefied at the sudden appearance of the 
man he hated that he had simply sat still, 
staring; but only for a moment. The 
movement of his arm was so quick that I 
hardly saw it ; I only noticed what seemed 
to be a streak of light which shot across the 
room. And then J heard Jimmy's revolver 
again — the tenth, the hundredth of a second 
too late. He'd drilled Pedro Salvas through 
the heart all right — I watched the swine 
crumple and fall with the snarl still on his 
face — but this time the knife wasn't sticking 
in the wall. 

" She got to him first," went on Merton, 
thoughtfully. " His knees were sagging just 
as I got to the window, and she was trying to 
hold him up in her arms. And then between 
us we laid him down, and I saw that the end 

by \jC 


u I I I '.' I I I 


196 The Man Who Could Not Get Drunk 

was very near. There was nothing I could 
do ; the knife was clean into his chest. The 
finish of the journey had come to the man 
who could not get drunk. And so I left 
them together, while I mounted guard by 
the window with a gun in each hand. It 
wasn't a house to take risks in. 

'' He lived, I think, for five minutes, and 
of those five minutes I would rather not 
speak. There are things which a man may 
tell, and things which he may not. Sufficient 
be it to say that he may have cheated at 
cards or he may not — she loved him. If, 
indeed, he had committed the unforgivable 
sin amongst gentlemen all the world over, 
he atoned for it. And she loved him. Let 
us leave it at that. 

" And when it was over, and the strange, 
bitter spirit of the man who called himself 
Jimmy Mainwaring had gone out on the 
unknown road, I touched her on the shoulder. 
She rose blindly and stumbled out into the 
darkness at my side. I don't think I spoke 
a word to her, beyond telling her to take my 
arm. And after a while she grew heavier and 
heavier on it, until at last she slipped dowil — a 
little unconscious heap of sobbing girlhood." 

Merton paused and lit a cigarette with a 

" So that is how it was ordained that I 
should carry the Lady Sylvia Clavering, 
slung over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, 

for three miles. I remember staggering into 
the village to find myself surrounded by men 
from the yacht. I handed her over to her 
distracted husband, and then I rather think 
J fainted myself. I know I found myself 
in my own bar, with people pouring whisky 
down my throat. And after a while they 
cleared off, leaving Clavering alone with me. 
He began to stammer out his thanks, and I 
cut him short. 

" ' No thanks are due to me,' I said. 

They're due to another man whom you 

called a card-cheat — but who was a bigger 

man than either you or I are ever likely to 

be.' • 

" Was ? ' he* said, staring at me. 

" * Yes,' I answered. * He's dead.' 

" He stood there silently for a moment or 
two ; then with a queer look on his face he 
took off his hat. 

" * You're right,' he said. ' He was a* 
bigger man than me.' " 

MERTON got up and pressed the bell. 
"* I've never seen him from that day 
to this," he said, thoughtfully. " I 
never saw his wife again until to-night. And 
I've never filled in the gaps in the story. 
Moreover, I don't know that I want to." 
A waiter came over to his chair. 
" You '11 join me ? Two whiskies-and -sodas, 
please, waiter — large ones." 



School, stage, and life in town its pages show ; 
The tale appeared some eighty years ago. 

1. Your name, here writ, and shortened, now we meet ; 
Victor and then three more the line complete. 

2. Stranger and exile, yet a faithful friend 
When monarch had with treason to contend. 

3. Archbishop, canon, curate, vicar, dean, 

He comes with step sedate and reverend mien. 

4. (Caroline, surely, and it seems we may 
Feel certain that the lady had some hay. 

5. A Scottish tree (if one may use such phrase) 
Recalls a scholar versed in ancient ways. 

6. Food rearrange — a story known to fame : 
This by itself reveals the second name. 

7. Four little words ; less than one word ; to read 
The place's name, two letters more we need. 

8. Tis often yours, and yet not owned by you, 
Since anagram of instrument will do. 


Answers to Acrostic No. 104 should be addressed to the 
Acrostic Editor, The Strand Magazine, Southampton 
Street, Strand, London, tf.C.2, and must arrive not later 
than by the first post on March 10th. 

Two answers may be sent to every light. 
It is essential that solvers, with their answers to thu 
acrostic, should send also their real names and addresses. 


(The Third of the Series.) 

In number one time number two is eaten, 
And as a vegetable can't be beaten. 

1. She did great service in the war. 

2. Once water, harder than the floor. 

3. In Latin this is one, less one. 

4. Gives shelter from the rain or sun. 

5. Tou cannot do this, speaking truth. 

6. Colour of cheeks in healthy youth. 


1. W. A. A. C. 

2. I c E 

3. N ihi L 

4. T re E 

5. E r R 

6. R udd Y 
Nor*.— Light 3. Also, Nil. 


Solvers who write to the Acrostic Editor and deeirr 
answers to their queries should, with their letterp, enclose 
a stamped addressed envelope, and he will endeavour to 

Original from 




TWO generations 
ago, the most 
cherished am- 
bition of the 
professional writer was 
to be as completely as 
possible unlike other 
men in appearance, in habit, 
and in manner. Long hair 
and untidy clothes were 
regarded as the outward 
and visible signs of intel- 
lectuality. In France, par- 
ticularly, the literary man 
was always obsessed with 
the desire to astonish the 
bourgeois whom he despised. 
This yearning for eccentricity 
had its most famous demon- 
stration when BarbeyD' Au re- 
villy led a goose along the 
boulevard by a broad piece 
of scarlet ribbon which was 
tied in a bow round the 
bird's neck, There is little 
if any of this vehement 
struggle to be peculiar in 
the present generation oi 
English writing men, the majority of whom 
are entirely indistinguishable from their 
fellows of the prosperous professional class, 
Of course t there are exceptions. Mr, Bernard 
Shaw still wears Jaeger suits. Sir Hall 
Caine still wears miraculously high collars. 
Some of the many minor poets of our time 
still cultivate humorously long hair. But in 
appearance, anyhow, men like H. G. Wells, 
Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy, Phillips 
Oppenheim, John Drinkwater, Hugh Walpole 
(to quote a few names at hazard) are even 
as you and I. 

Anthony Trollope used to ridicule the 
idea that a writer must wait for inspiration 
for his work. He wrote regularly for so 
many hours a day, just as a lawyer spends 
so many hours in the Courts or in his office, 
and more than one contemporary writer has 
adopted the same plan, notably Mr. Phillips 

Sidney Dark 


(Major H. C. McNeik.) 




Oppenheim. The 
majority of successful 
writers affect the same 
amusements as other 
people, and live their 
lives along the same 
comfortable conven- 
tional lines. The wayfaring 
man would certainly be 
foiled in any attempt to 
pick out successful writers 
from a crowd of other men 
if he did not recognize them 
from their photographs in 
the illustrated papers* 

No man, perhaps, is less 
like the conventional idea 
of a writer than Major 
H> C + MeNeile, better known 
to playgoers and magazine 
readers by his pen name 
" Sapper/ J Major MeNeile 
has been a soldier and looks 
a soldier. He is now a 
highly successful writer, but 
he does not look it a bit. 
He is tall and lean, with 
that characteristic British 
leanness which years ago used to move Mr. 
George Moore to admiration. He has all the 
appearance of a man who is keen on keeping 
himself fit, and is fonder of the open air than 
of the musty atmosphere of a library. 
Major MeNeile is a good golfer and a rider to 
hounds. Indeed, he has all the qualities, 
and, one must in fairness add, most of the 
prejudices, of the class to which he belongs. 
He is still quite a young man—only thirty- 
three — and he looks younger. He possesses 
a cheerful, exuberant youthfulness. He is 
entirely without side, and he has an un- 
affected and openly-expressed enjoyment of 
the success that has come to him and which 
lie, of course j quite inaccurately ascribes 
entirely to the most tremendous and delight- 
ful luck. It is this almost eerie lack of 
conceit (for it is difficult for a man who has 
achieved great and immediate success not 

Original from 


"Sapper" In Mufti 

to be a little puffed up and more than a 
little pleased with himself) that is " Sapper's " 
chief charm. 

He will tell you what he owes to other men, 
and he evidently finds it extremely- difficult 
to talk about himself and about his methods 
of work, or to discuss the reasons that have 
made his books and his plays so successful. 
He comes from a Belfast family of Scotch 
descent, although there is certainly no 
trace of Ulster dourness about his character. 
He was educated at Cheltenham, went 
on to Woolwich, and, after passing out of 
the " Shop," obtained a commission in the 
Sappers, in which he was serving at the 
beginning of the war. He went out to 
France in '14, and was present at the first 
battle of Ypres, performing for some time the 
routine duties ot an Engineer officer, at the 
beginning of the war, perhaps, of greater 
responsibility than towards its end. When 
Kitchener's Army began to grow, and scores 
of new units were formed, "Sapper" was 
transferred to the infantry, and, finally, Jhe 
commanded a battalion of the Middlesex 
Regiment. At the end of _the war he 
resigned his commission after a military 
service ot something over twelve years. 

UNTIL he went to France on active 
service, 'Sapper'' had practically 
written nothing. The war brought 
many literary careers to a tragically 
untimely end. One could fill pages of 
this magazine with the names of young 
men of brilliant talent who had before 
1 91 4 acquired literary reputations and 
whose lives were sacrificed in the great 
struggle. Other older men have been so 
affected by the clanging, bewildering events 
of the last seven years that their inspiration 
seems tc have dried up and their hands seem 
to have lost their cunning. But ' Sapper " 
is the literary child of the war. Before 191 4 
he had tried to write. He tells you quite 
frankly that he had heard there was money 
in it. But his efforts had not been successful. 
The most ambitious of these efforts was a play 
in four acts. He rather liked the play when 
he had written it, and sent it to a theatrical 
manager, who pointed out to him that it 
would be difficult to produce a drama the 
longest act of which would only take twelve 
minutes on the stage and the shortest five. 

It was sheer boredom, " Sapper " told me, 
that really made him write seriously. Most 
men with long war experience will tell you 
that the hardest thing to endure at the front 
was not the enemy shells, not the insistent 
threat of death, not the occasional " going 
over the top," but the hours and hours of 
boredom with little or nothing to do in 
damp, horrible dug-outs in the front line, or 
in sordid billets behind. When things were 

by Google 

doing, life was endurable. It was the long 
hours of doing nothing that were intolerable, 
and it was to fill these long weary hours that 
Major McNeile began to write. 

Referring in 191 6 to the first battle of 
Ypres, he says : ** Much water has flowed 
under the bridge since then : there are not 
many left of that original handful who 
crossed the water ; and yet a second winter 
finds us in positions practically unchanged. 
True, the trenches have improved ; the 
bombs are better ; the guns more numerous. 
But the boredom and the mud, the cold and 
the fright, are just the same." 

Major McNeile felt, too, that at last he 
had something to write about. He had 
found in the incidents of a great campaign 
a new view of men. He had discovered the 
dramatic possibilities of everyday people. 
He appreciated commonplace humour as he 
had never appreciated it before, sharing in 
this respect the birthright of Dickens and 
Kipling. He had, as I have said, tried to 
write in the old days of peace, and his 
difficulty had been to find something to 
write about. Out in France, he felt that 
there was so much to write about that for a 
while lie hardly knew how to begin. Then 
he sat ddwn, night after night, in a billet, 
with ten other men in the same room, and 
wrote the stories collected in the volume 
called Sergeant Michael Cassidy." He sent 
his first stories to the Daily Mail, and he is 
full of appreciation of the help and en- 
couragement he received from Mr. Thomas 
Marlowe, the Daily Mail's editor. Mr. 
Marlowe urged him to go on writing, and 
personally arranged for the publication of 
the collected Michael Cassidy stories with 
Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton. When this 
series finished, " Sapper " had become almost 
famous. He was recognized as one of the 
real war writers/ one of the men who under- 
stood the spirit of the men at the front, who 
realized the vivid contrasts of war and of 
the primitive life of armies, and who could 
carry some, at least, of the atmosphere of 
the trenches into the comparatively safe 
homes of the people here in England. 
" Sergeant Michael Cassidy " was followed 
by " Men, Women, and Guns," and " No 
Man's Land." 

SAPPER'S " sense of drama and his 
sympathy with the soldier-man is well 
illustrated in the story called " Private 
Meyrick — Company Idiot," printed in the 
volume " Men, Women, and Guns." Before 
the war, Meyrick had been " something in a 
warehouse down near Tilbury," a dreamer 
and an ass. In the army he was a failure 
and a nuisance. He wanted to be a credit 
to the company, but he always failed. Then 
during a short hot fight, his officer believed 


Sidney Dark 



PhoiO. StUtTt A' IfudtHMK 

Original from 


"Sapper" In Mufti 

(quite wrongly) that the telephone to head- 
quarters was broken. The company idiot 
felt his- chance had come. He crawled out 
of the trench, found two bits of broken wire, 
held them together tightly in his hand — and 
died. Hours afterwards his body was found 
by his comrades. 

" How the devil did he get here ? " muttered 
Seymour. 4I It's one of my men." 

'• Was he anywhere near you when you 
kicked the telephone ? " asked the other, 
and his voice was a little hoarse. 

"He may have been— I don't know. Why ? " 

" Look at liis right hand/'. From the 
tightly-clenched fingers two broken ends of 
wire stuck out. 

'Poor lad." The Major bit his lip. 
,g Poor lad — I wonder. They called him the 
Company Idiot. Do you think ? " 

" I think he came out to find the break in 
the wire," said the other, quietly. '* And in 
doing so he found the answer to the big 

* I knew he'd make good — I knew it all 
along. He used to dream of big things — 
something big for the regiment." 

" And he's done a big thing, by Jove,", 
said the signal officer, gruffly, " for it's the 
motive that counts. And he couldn't know 
that he'd got the wrong wire." 

THE war came to an end. There were 
no more war stories to be written, no 
more war experiences to be related, 
no more war humour to be dug out of the 
slime and the slush. The distinctive war 
writer found his occupation gone. I asked 
" Sapper "if he found that his war stories 
still sold, and he told me that their sale 
had come entirely to an end. The reading 
public is naturally, and quite properly, 
weary of battlefields, and "Old Bills," and 
khaki, and the rest of it, and wants to 
read about something else. " Sapper " was 
equal to the occasion. He said to him- 
self : " Here am I, one of ten thousand 
other men who have to find some new 
outlet for my abilities. The sort of man I 
must write about now is a man of my own 
kind." And he invented " Bull-Dog Drum- 
mond," an ex-officer, weary of the placidity 
of civil life, and yearning for a repetition in 
some different way of the thrills of France 
and Flanders. The adventures of Bull-Dog 
Drummond were written as a series of maga- 
zine stories, and subsequently, with the help 
of Sir Gerald du Maurier, " Sapper " built 
on the stories the play which has been one of 
the few great successes of the London theatre 
during the past year. 

" Sapper " is really frankly amused by 
the success of " Bull-Dog Drummond." As 
I have said, he is no high-brow, and he does 
not take either himself or his work particu- 
larly seriously. He believes that the play- 
going public, as well as the reading public, 
loves adventures. It loves a strong hero, but 
he must not be too gentlemanly. The 
popularity of " Bull-Dog Drummond " is, 
according to his creator, due to the fact that 
he is strong and ugly. When the serious 
writer has fiuished a novel or a play, no word 
of it must be touched, not even a comma 
must be taken out or put in. " Sapper " has 
no such literary prejudices. He told me, 
with great glee, how during the rehearsals of 
' Bull-Dog Drummond " at Wyndham's 
Theatre, he and Sir Gerald du Maurier 
both felt that the last act was all wrong. 
The day before the production they still 
felt that, if this last act was played 
as it had been rehearsed, the whole thing 
would probably be a failure. So, on the 
night before the premiire, " Sapper " sat 
down and re-wrote the last act entirely 
from .the beginning to the end. It took 
him five hours. The new act was rehearsed 
on the afternoon of its production, and 
was largely responsible for the play's 
success. It was my good fortune to lunch 
with " Sapper " on the next day, and his 
boyish glee in the memory of the first- 
night enthusiasm and in the laudatory 
Press notices was entirely delightful. 

Some weeks afterwards I had a long talk 
with him at his house at Ascot, which he has 
since left because he felt too shut in, he said , 
in that over- wooded aristocratic countryside. 
He declares that he must have air and wind 
and big spaces round him if he is to be 
healthy and happy. He has been wintering 
in Switzerland, writing another play and 
more stories. I have said that "Sapper" 
does not take himself or his work seriously. 
But this statement requires some qualifica- 
tion. He thinks that he is lucky, he certainly 
does not regard himself as a great genius, but 
this does not mean that he does not take 
infinite pains with his work, that he is 
not eager to acquire a greater craftsmanship 
than he at present possesses. One thing is 
quite certain. Whatever the future may 
hold for him, whatever successes he may 
be destined to write, Major McNeile will 
always remain a typical open-air, whole- 
some, unaffected, kind-hearted Englishman. 
For that is the root of the man. His 
writing is a pleasant accident, pleasant to 
himeslf, and more than pleasant to his 
innumerable readers. 

by Google 

Original from 



IT may be said of 
Isobel B I o o m 
that in her 
Garden of Eden 
apples were not 
sufficient. She de- 
mand cd nee t arines t 
pomegranates, hot- 
house grapes, even 
crystallized fruit in 
boxes, tied up with 
pink ribbons. She 
was that kind of 
woman, if you know 
what I mean. You 
must not infer from 
this that she was a 
weak woman, easily 

captive to the bow and spear of the most 
highly favoured hunter. It is only that she 
was discriminating, critical, elusive, para- 
doxical, ablative, passionate, romance-ridden, 
film-soaked, shrewd, precocious, and devas- 
tating. To some people a wall is a wall, and 
a glass of water a glass of water ; but to 
Isobel this was not, and never would be, the 
case* Her beauty had come with too great 
a rush and too unexpectedly to allow her 
time to bow acknowledgments to apparent 
phenomena. She had been a plain child with 
thin legs, irregular features, and a toe small 
nose. But at the age of eighteen something 
suddenly seemed to happen. The legs filled 
out and became extremely graceful* The 
features balanced themselves, Then you 
saw that the nose wasn't a bit too small. 
Nature had been preparing for this all the 
time. Her father, who was the son of a 
man who had made a large fortune out of 
lawn-mowers, said to his wife one evening, 
just after they had returned from a six 
months' jaunt in Egypt : — 

M Good Lord ! Have you noticed Isobel ? " 

And his wife said ; — 

■' What about her, darling ? " 

'' She's suddenly turned into an extra- 
ordinarily beautiful girl." 

No harm in this. Fond parents indulge in 
these infra- familiar platitudes ; but Isobel 
had overheard the remark, and she rushed 
upstairs to her bedroom and looked in the 
mirror, From that day onwards a wall no 

VaLlxUL— 14- "■ Copyright, 19*1, 




by ^OOgie 

longer became a wall 
or a glass of water 
a glass of water to 
her. To make my 
meaning clearer, it 
may be as well to 
labour this point a 
little. Everything is 
relative, When we 
say that a wall is a 
wall we have to 
allow the fact that 
a wall is something 
different to everyone. 
To one man it may 
be a prison, to 
another a protection, 
to a third an eye- 
sore ; to a builder it's a job, to a cat an 
ecstasy. To one man it will appeal as a 
commercial proposition ; to another as a 
romantic episode stirring the memory of 
ancient architecture. Its symmetry will jag 
the nerves of some, its irregularity offend the 
senses of another, On the other hand, a 
dreamer may gaze into a three- walled garden 
for the best part of his life, and the fact that 
it has three walls may make no impression 
on his consciousness at ail. Indeed, a wall, 
like any other material thing, can be lived 
down, overlooked, or ignored. 

Human beings in a highly vitalized state 
are always unconscious of any matter not 
immediately concerned with the frenzy which 
holds them. For instance, a great actor 
declaiming a soliloquy from *' Hamlet " is 
entirely ignorant of the progress of his 
internal digestive functioning ; neither is his 
mind the least bit affected by the physical 
processes going on in the electric light globes 
in the footlights upon which his eyes may 
be fixed. Consequently Isobel Bloom, 
abruptly transcended by the dazzling radi 
ance of her own beauty, and by its obvious 
effect upon her fellow-creatures, saw things 
no longer in terms of actuality. She did not 
become exactly vain. One cannot call vain 
a magnificent panther posing in the sun, or 
an apple-tree in full bloom. Besides, her 
days were far too crowded for vanity* It is 
only the idle who are vain. Breathless 
romance began with the first twitter of the 

by Stacy Aumari^tj ,-i j j-| ^ | f^Qf-p 



Heart -Whole 

starlings on her window-sill at dawn, and 
did not by any means end when she laid her 
beautiful head on her pillow at night. 
Indeed, her dreams were a very busy time. 
They were invariably concerned with daring 
episodes of knight-errantry. She lived in 
the Middle Ages with a large Daimler and 
frocks from Paris. She had so much to 
give, and what she had was of such value 
that the utmost risks and sacrifices must be 
demanded. Moreover, the weather must 
keep fine for it. 

By the time she was twenty she had had 
seventeen proposals of marriage, including 
two offers of an elopement with her father's 
chauffeur. It was this that made her dis- 
criminating and critical. NQt that she did 
not admire Jules, the Belgian chauffeur, and 
consider him a romantic figure, but that, at 
his second and more urgent appeal for 
elopement, she had become painfully aware 
that he had been eating garlic. With her 
shrewd sense she realized that this discovery 
might not have been manifest till too late ! 
The curate never made any deep impression. 
He was of the sporting parson breed, who 
had founded a boxing club in the village. 
He actually made his third proposal to her 
with his left eye discoloured by the effect 
of a pretty forearm jab from Beal, the black- 
smith. She was convinced that he came to 
her to be mothered. Sir Andrew Abadam 
was middle-aged and enormously rich. He 
told her the full story of his life. How he 
had been to school and to a commercial 
college. How, when a child, a nurse had 
left him out in a pram in the rain, so that to 
this day he was liable to fierce attacks of 
cramp in the stomach ; how he had in the 
end inherited a sardine-canning factory from 
an uncle, and what an enormous success he 
had made of it. How she, Isobel, was the 
first woman he had ever loved — in quite the 
way he loved her. Whatever meagre chances 
of success his courtship might have had were 
completely destroyed by his abrupt refusal 
to dive into the artificial lake one chilly 
September evening to rescue her fan. The 
implied cruelty of the request to a man 
subject to attacks of cramp in the stomach 
never impressed her ; neither did his avowed 
willingness to " buy her ten thousand fans 
to-morrow " have the slightest effect. He 
had missed his chance. Her other suitors 
included a lord, an Austrian pianist, an oil 
magnate, an under-gardener, two medical 
students, a bone-setter, and a sanitary 
engineer. But all these men, although 
having many noble qualities, still lacked 
in some essential. And so at the age of 
twenty-one we find her (see adjectives in 
opening paragraph) unmarried, a little 
embittered, and with old age tapping at 
the door. 

by Google 

YOU may aver that the particular nec- 
tarine, hothouse aspect of Isobel would 
never have developed had it not been 
that her grandfather had made a fortune 
out of lawn-mowers, and you are to a 
certain extent right. A person to whom 
there is no difference between a thousand 
pounds and three-halfpence is less liable 
to appreciate the fact that a door is a 
door, and a glass of water a glass of 
water, than the unhappy individual to 
whom three-halfpence is a solid proposi- 
tion, and a thousand pounds a fantastic 
dream* But this is not exactly IsobeTs 
fault. She was an only child. Her father 
was hypnotized by the discovery of her 
beauty. He used to peep at her furtively 
out of the bathroom window, when she was 
in the garden, and mutter : " Well, I'm 
hanged ! " He then regarded his roly- 
poly figure in the mirror, twirled his little 
sandy moustache, and added : " The age of 
miracles I The age of miracles I " This 
shows the amazing egoism of man. Mrs. 
Bloom also regarded her daughter with as- 
tonishment, but the revelation only brought 
her a kind of cosy sense of pleasure. With 
laboured scrutiny she discovered the basis of 
all Isobel's perfections in her own mirror. 
" Nature is wonderful," she thought ; but 
there was no darn miracle about it. Never- 
theless, it must be acknowledged that from 
the day on which her parents returned from 
their trip down the Nile (during the course 
of which Mr. Bloom had lost one hundred 
and sixty pounds at bridge, and his wife 
had made two hundred and twenty), they 
both melted to Isobel. They subsided into a 
background. They became merely a united 
fount of adulation and material supplies. 
In the great scheme of her life they ceased 
to count, except as the sleepers on the main 
line count to the Scotch Express. They 
made no attempt to control, influence, or 
even annotate the procession of suitors who 
began to form. As Mr. Bloom very wisely 
said : " She will do as she likes." 

But when her twenty-second birthday 
approached, and Isobel still remained un- 
married and unpledged, Mr. and Mrs. Bloom 
began to get alarmed, and in halting 
phrases Mr. Bloom recounted to her the 
old fable about the woman who. went to 
collect faggots in a wood. When he had 
finished Isobel pointed out to him that 
he had a smut on the white slip of his 
waistcoat, and that the best people* said 
M faggot," not " faggit." She had not been 
listening to him. Her mind was too occupied 
with the details of a crisis in her romantic 
development. She was in love. For the 
first time she was in love, and with the ill-luck 
which she was convinced had come to dog 
her destiny for ever, she was in love with 
Original from 


Stacy Aumonier 


two men. The realization had come to her 
in a flash that morning as she was feeding 
the peacocks. What was she 

Their names were Jere- 
miah Jermy and Augustus 
Smallrage, - and in order 
to develop Isobel's story 
properly, it may be neces- 
sary to recount something 
about these two men. 
They were great friends, 
both wealthy, and both 
young. Jeremiah Jermy 
was a tall, fair, aesthetic 
young man . He had } >lt i 1 
an officer in the 
Stiffs, but had re- 
signed his com- 
mission owing to 
a difference with 
the colonel with 
regard to the right 
sauce to serve 
with grey mullet. 
He was amiable 
and kind, could 
imitate the noise 
of a steam saw or 
a lift, did very 
clever tricks 
with string and 
matches, had a 
remarkable collec- 
tion of cigar- 
bands, and was 
always Cambridge 
in the Boat Race. 
The latter was a 
startling charac- 
teristic, as he was 
up at Oxford for 
four years, and had 
never even visited 

Augustus Small- 
rage, on the other 
hand, was dark, 
rather stocky, and 
essentially a 
sportsman. He had killed 
specimens of nearly every 
living creature except man. 
(The exception, of course, does 
not include coloured men or 
gamekeepers,) He plaved polo, 
squash rackets, fives, badminton, 
billboard, pelota, and beggar-my-neighbour, 
He was rather a silent man, but as a gymnast 
he was unique. He would do the. grand 
circle on the bough of an elm tree in Mr t 
Bloom's park. He would walk the full 
length of the terrace five times on his hands. 
Indeed, the attitude of being upside down 
appeared to be as natural to him as an 

* The curate actually made his 
third proposal to her with his 
left eye discoloured by the effect 
of a pretty forearm jab from 
the blacksmith/* 

upright one. One of his favourite methods 
of courting Isobel was to balance himself on 
his head on the balustrade of the terrace 
outside her window. Sometimes in the 
early morning she would peep out and 
behold him balanced there with his legs 
wide apart and his eyes fixed supplicat- 
ingly on her window, She was enormously 



Heart -Whole 

impressed. . She liked to persuade herself that 
he had been there all night, but the thought 
of the amount of blood that must have 
rushed to his head disturbed her, and she 
would lean out of the window and say : — 

" Thank you, so much." 

Then he would spin round half-a-dozen 
times, come down, and go in to breakfast. 
Jeremiah had no accomplishment so moving 
as that, but he had other endearing qualities. 
His string and match tricks denoted an 
intellectuality and imagination in which 
perhaps Augustus was a trifle lacking. 
Isobel had wavered between these two for 
the best part of a year, and that morning she 
realized that a definite crisis had arisen. 
She could be happy with either. 

We have said that she was disturbed. 
This is true, but the disturbance was not 
entirely an unpleasant one. The capacity 
for loving two men is rare, and it fitted well 
with her rich and compendious nature. The 
romantic possibilities were not to be frittered 
away. And so it came about that one day 
in June she sent for them both. She chose 
the Pompeian room in her father's house on 
Chelsea Embankment for the venue, and she 
wore a gown of whortleberry crepe-de-Chine 
trimmed with a silk trimming the colour of 
elephant's breath. When they had assem- 
bled, she walked majestically to the window 
and pointed to the river and said : — 

4 Look ! the river flowing towards the 
open sea ! " 

" Yes," answered Jeremiah. " That's 
right — the Thames.'* 

Then she turned, and addressed them in 
these periods : — 

" Augustus, Jeremiah, it's no good pre- 
tending. You know and I know. The 
truth has got to be faced." 

They both faced it. 

" You have both sworn you love me, and 
that you wish to marry me. Is that true ? " 

"It is true," they replied, hoarsely, and 
went down on their knees. 

" Very. well, then; are you prepared to 
venture something for my sake ? " 

44 We are." 

14 Good ! Then I have prepared a test, a 
simple, painless, interesting test, and I am 
prepared to stand by the result." 

" Ah ! " 

They looked up at her in a frenzy of 

44 It is simple — very, very simple. You 
shall make a girdle round the earth, starting 
from this room to-day * One shall go east, 
and the other west. I will remain here. 
Whoever gets back to me first, I will marry. 
Are you willing? " 

• - We are." 

14 Let us, then, draw lots as to who shall 
go West and who shall go East." 


She took two sheets of embossed note- 
paper, and on one she wrote ' West," and 
then she folded them up. 

" But you haven't written on the other," 
said Augustus. 

" Of course not," said Jeremiah. " If one 
is West, the other must be East." 

* Why ? " said Augustus, who was white 
to the lips. 

Neither of the others replied to his inept 
remark, and Isobel placed the two papers 
in a hat and shook them up. Then she 
turned to Augustus and said : — 

" You shall draw in alphabetical order. 
Augustus — first." 

Augustus snatched the paper and opened 
it. He appeared stupefied. 

41 I've drawn a blank," he said. 

44 That means you go East," replied Isobel. 

44 Why ? " 

11 Because I have drawn West ' *' exclaimed 
Jeremiah, who felt that he was already 
triumphing over his opponent by a greater 
show of intelligence. Isobel walked grace- 
fully across the room and seated herself in 
a chair of ebony and gold. 

44 I shall remain heart-whole," she said, 
dramatically. " I shall wait here for you, 
for the first of you gentlemen who returns. 
You, Augustus, go East. You understand, 
you may take any route you like, use any 
conveyance you like, employ any means you 
like, but you must make a complete circle 
round the earth. You, Jeremiah, will go 
West. The same rules apply to you. My 
thoughts will be with you both in whatever 
part of the world you are, and whatever 
adventures befall you. Now go ! " 

The two men looked at each other, and 
shook hands. Then they knelt for the last 
time before Isobel, and kissed her hand in 

WHEN it came to the moment of 
departure, the advantage which Jere- 
miah appeared to have gained by 
his more prehensile grip of the details of 
the difficult problem Isobel had set them 
was to an extent negatived by the action 
of Augustus. It seemed, indeed, as though 
Augustus wished to show his contempt 
for purely theoretical adventures and to 
establish the fact that he, in any case, 
was a man of action. No sooner had he 
kissed the tips of IsobeFs fingers than 
he leapt to the window and opened it. 
Without a moment's hesitation he mounted 
the sill and slid down the water-pipe, 
eventually alighting on the top of his car, 
which was waiting below. Before Jeremiah 
had smoothed the nap of his silk hat in the 
hall Augustus was half a mile on his way. 

Each man carried away with him the vision 
of Isobel seated on her black- and-gold throne, 


Stacy Aumonier 


Isobel placed the two papers in a hat and shook them up. ' You shall draw in 
alphabetical order. Augustus — first/ " 
rv -^h f^rw^nL* Original from 



Heart -W hole 

watching through the window for his return. 
Both were convinced that thus she would 
remain until that fateful day. 

But we must first of all deal with the 
actions of Jeremiah. When he had brushed 
his silk hat he stepped slowly and thought- 
fully out into the sunshine. He was by no 
means eager or inspired by the scheme. In 
the first place, he was an exceptionally bad 
sailor, and to-morrow perhaps he would be 
on the broad Atlantic. As if this were not 
sufficient, he was condemned to cross the 
Pacific, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, 
every unfriendly sea that was ever invented. 
He saw, moreover, that all the advantages 
would be with Augustus, who was a good 
sailor and a flying man. He might quite 
conceivably fly round the earth and be back 
in about a fortnight. He visualized himself 
having an extremely uncomfortable and 
boring time scrambling round the earth, and 
then on arriving back discovering that 
Isobel had been on her honeymoon for some 
weeks. Confound women ! Why couldn't 
they be more sensible and simple ? And 
for Jeremiah there was another little fly in 
the ointment. During the previous week he 
had met a girl in a tobacconist's shop. Of 
course, she was nothing like Isobel, not so 
beautiful or bewitching, but still — there she 
was, and for some mysterious reason she 
haunted Jeremiah. She was a lovable, 
simple little thing named Mary Cash. She 
was in any case — coupled with the thought 
of unfriendly seas — sufficient to make 
Jeremiah hesitate as he stood outside 
Isobel 's house and blinked up at the sun. 
He was about to amble off in the direction 
of Sloane Square, when he heard his name 
called. For a few moments he could not 
determine whence the call came, and then, 
looking up, he beheld Isobel leaning out of 
the window. She beckoned to him to return. 

" Um ! " thought Jeremiah. " She is 
doing this to delay me. She favours 

He rang the bell, and what might have 
proved the determining five minutes in the 
great race was frittered away in the usual 
formalities of entering the house and return- 
ing to the Pompeian room. When at length 
he found himself alone with Isobel he was 
conscious that a change had come over her. 
She held out her hands and said : — 

" Jerry, I have changed my mind. 
Directly Augustus disappeared down the 
water-pipe I realized that it was you I 

Jeremiah gasped. 

" But the race ! The race round the 
earth ! " 

" Do not go, Jerry. I do not wish you 
to go. Let Augustus go by himself, and 
before he returns we shall be married." 

by K; 



Jeremiah stared at her, and stared out of 
the window. His mind for the fraction of 
a second fluttered to the girl in the tobacco- 
nist's shop, but in the actual presence of 
Isobel no other woman's memory could 
remain very vivid. He looked down at his 
boots, and muttered : — 

" Don't you think perhaps it seems just 
a teeny-weeny bit unfair ? " 

" All's fair in love and war ! " exclaimed 
Isobel, and then, after a pause, added : 
" Besides, we can always say you got back 

Jeremiah could not see how this made it 
any less unfair, but the ways of women are 
strange. He pictured Augustus already, 
perhaps, half way to Hendon to pick up a 
Handley-Page. He thought of him dashing 
round the earth, perhaps getting killed or 
dying from fever in some remote land. 
Perhaps, after terrible privations, returning 
to England and finding that the other two 
had been married all the time. It did seem 
a little cruel, cruel and unnecessary. Why 
not send him a wire ? — " Race ofi Isobel 
favours me." But, on the other hand, 
where was Augustus ? It did not at all 
follow he had gone to Hendon or even to 
Paris. He might try and get on the Trans- 
Siberian Railway. Augustus was capable of 
anything. His meditations on this theme 
were interrupted by Isobel, who threw her 
arms round his neck and said : — 

" Don't you understand ? It is you I 
love, Jerry ? " 

That put the semicolon on his fears and 
apprehensions ; he took her in his arms and 
behaved exactly as though he had won the 
race round the earth. 

" We will wait," said Isobel, when she 
could get her breath, " till Augustus has 
got to Africa or China, or wherever it is he 
passes through, and then we will get married 
quietly in Paris." 

" Yes," answered Jeremiah. " That would 
be a nice, quiet, inconspicuous spot." 

NEITHER of them had any idea as to how 
long it would take to get round the earth, 
and at length Jeremiah called at Cook's 
in Piccadilly and made inquiries. He found 
that with luck and by taking express trains 
and specials, and perhaps flying a bit, Augustus 
might accomplish it in five weeks, but it 
would more probably be seven or eight. 
The conspirators decided to get married in 
three weeks' time, and to return to Chelsea 
at the end of the fifth week, and Jeremiah 
was to pretend that he had just arrived. 
Through a private detective agency Jere- 
miah, feeling rather sheepish and guilty, 
tried to find out which way Augustus had 
gone, but from the moment his car had 
vanished round the comer of Tite Street 
Original from 


Stacy Aumonier 


they could find no trace of him at all, beyond 
the fact that he had called at his bankers, 
and obtained a letter of credit for a large 

This is almost a propaganda story. In 
any case, it has a deep and far-reaching 
moral, demonstrating the fact that villainy 
always reacts on itself, that treachery never 
goes unpunished, and that in the end goodness 
and honour are worth while, and that beauty 
has no call to hold itself superior to homely 
virtues. The plot hatched in that diabolical 
manner by Isobel, and supported half- 
heartedly by Jeremiah, was doomed from 
its very inception. 

They got married secretly at a notary's 
office in St. Malo and went to Dinard for 
their honeymoon. The marriage was a 
hopeless failure. The trouble began because 
Jeremiah was always thinking about the 
girl in the tobacconist's shop. Isobel, on 
the other hand, got thoroughly bored with 
Jeremiah and with his interminable string 
and match tricks. On the second evening 
he had exhausted his repertoire of tricks 
and began all over again. Neither did the 
imitations of a steam saw or a lift rouse her 
spirits after the tenth repetition. 

" Good gracious ! " she thought. " All 
through life I am condemned to listen to 
that wretched saw and lift and to watch the 
twiddlings of those ridiculous pieces of 

And Jeremiah on his part, when watching 
Isobel powder her nose, thought : — 

" I wonder how Mary Cash is. How simple 
and sweet she looked when she handed me 
down that box of Golden Dawn navy-cut." 

And he sighed . Neither of them mentioned 
Augustus, and yet he occupied their thoughts 
in very divergent ways. They had been at 
Dinard a week, and they were sitting one 
evening outside a cafi t listening to the band. 
They had not spoken for an hour. At last 
Jeremiah took out a box of matches and 
began to break off the ends. With an 
impatient gesture Isobel swept the box off 
the table. 

" No," she said. " Not again. I can't 
stand it." 

Jeremiah picked up the broken matches 
(matches are very expensive in France) and 
put them back in his pocket. 

" You are right," he said. ' I realize that 
you don't love me any more, Isobel." 

She leant across the table and pressed his 

"It is more than that," she answered. 
" I realize that I never have loved you, I 
was wrong. It is Augustus I love. It came 
to me in a flash this morning when you were 
shaving. I'm not angry with you, Jerry; 
it's not your fault. You have good qualities 
— your imitation of the saw is amazing — 

by Google 

but, as a man, you do not come up to my 

" No," he replied, hoarsely. " It is best, 
then, that we part." 

Wealth and influence can accomplish 
many things. Even the law can be jostled 
and jogged by the fortunate individual with 
the deep purse. Their divorce was rushed 
through at breathless speed. Isobel had her 
reasons for this. 

On the last day of the fifth week Isobel 
was once again seated in the Pompeian room 
on Chelsea Embankment, awaiting the return 
of Augustus. As for Jeremiah, within a 
month of his release he had married the girl 
from the tobacconist's shop, and they went 
out to the Hampstead Garden Suburb, and 
were never heard of again. 

BUT to return to Isobel .... there she 
waited. To her annoyance, Augustus 
did not appear. She went to bed at last, 
but left a purple shaded lamp burning and 
the window open. (She knew Augustus 
would come that way.) Also she set an old" 
family retainer to watch, with instructions 
to call her immediately the head of Augustus 
appeared above the sill. But the night 
passed, and the following day, and the next 
night, and the whole week, two weeks, 
three weeks. 

Twelve weeks had passed since Augustus 
set out to circumnavigate the earth, and on 
the last night of the twelfth week, Isobel 
looked up at the star-lit sky and said to 
herself : " This is a wash-out. He has been 
drowned or killed. To-morrow I shall go 
back to pa and ma, and then I shall take 
the veil. Yes, I shall go into a nunnery in 
some vine-clad corner of Italy, away from 
the cruel world. Perhaps I had better wait 
till after Henley, and perhaps Newmarket, 
but go I assuredly will." 

She sighed and thought of a new arrange- 
ment of a frock that would be just suitable 
for the river. She was about to put out the 
light and retire, when suddenly she heard 
her name called. She glanced at the window. 
It was he. 

Augustus clambered through and went 
down upon his knees. 

" I am too late," he said. 

Isobel sank back in her chair and closed 
her eyes. The moment was too exquisite 
to hurry. Her cavalier ! The Middle Ages 
became a back number. She muttered, soul- 
fully :— 

" Augustus ! " 

She then realized that he was wet through, 
and that his clothes were all in rags. He 
looked at her sheepishly and repeated : — 

" I am too late ! Alas ! " 

Then she said in her deep, quiet voice : — 

" No. You are the first." 



Heart -Whole 

■ What! ,a almost 
y cited Augustus. 

'" You are the first, 
Jeremiah has not yet 

" I am the first ! I am 
the first ! Jeremiah has 
not yet returned 1 M 
Augustus appeared to be 
beside himself, but he 
made no attempt to 
advance towards her. 
He continued to kneel 
there, looking incredibly 
nonplussed- - Pbor fellow 1 She must try to 
help him* His privations had probably 
affected his brain, never the sturdiest por- 
tion of his anatomy. 

"Augustus clambered through and went down upon his knee*. 

by Google 

** You are wet, Augustus/* 
M Yes. I was shipwrecked." 
M How awful ! And you came straight 
to me without changing your clothes ! " 

Original from 


Stacy Aumonier 


" Yes, but too late ! Even then — too 

" No, you don't seem to understand, 
Augustus. Jeremiah has not returned. I 
have been waiting here for you— heart- 
whole ! " 

Augustus shook himself like a dog, and the 
water splashed all over the beautiful Pompeian 
carpet, At last he said : — 

11 1 am too late/ he said. Isobel sank back in her chair and closed her eyes. 

" No. I cannot take advantage of my 
oldest friend, Perhaps he — perhaps he 
missed his train somewhere, I have been 
too lucky. Everything went right — trains. 

by Google 

steamers, buses, aeroplanes, everything. No, 
I cannot do it, Chrystabel/' 

** My name is Isobel, Have you forgotten, 
Augustus ? Tell me the story of your 
wanderings. Come, kneel beside me." 

" No p I am too wet, too — unworthy, I 
was shipwrecked, nearly eaten by sharks, 
lost in a jungle in Africa, captured by 
brigands. It has been awful, but it was 
quicker than I ex- 
pected. Poor old 
Jerry ! Poor old 
Jerry ! Where is he ? 
My greatest friend. 
And perhaps through 
me we have sent him 
to destruction " 

" All's fair in love 
and war/ 1 murmured 
Isobel, aptly. 

"Oh, no/no, it isn't. 
Neither in love nor in 
war. There's a limit. 
Certain things aren't 
done, don't you 
know/ 1 

*' It was a fair race, 
I don't understand 
you, Augustus, Did 
we not all agree ? 
Come, you are dis- 
traught. Let me get 
you a change of 
clothes from the but- 
ler, and then warm 
yourself at the fire, 
and have a hot meal. 
The race is to the 
swift, the battle to the 
strong/ 1 

" But he 
could have 
got round 
the earth 
in a rowing 
boat in three 
months/ 1 


came down 

from her 

throne and held 

out her arms, 

' You might 
have, Augustus, 
dear. You are 
strong. It is 
strength I love. 

" No, no, I'm 
not strong. I'm 
as weak as the deuce. I'm unworthy of you. 
I'm a w T orm. I'm — I'm — off ! " 

And before Isobel had had time to 
anticipate his action he had leapt to the 
Original from 



Heart -Whole 

window and was sliding down the water- 

" Home ! " he yelled to the chauffeur. 

The drive to Kensington Gardens only- 
occupied ten minutes. Augustus let himself 
in and ran upstairs. He opened a bedroom 
door. A pretty, fair-haired woman was 
sitting up in bed, reading an illustrated 
paper. For the sake of the propriety of this 
journal, let me hasten to add that she was 
his wife. . 

" Gee ! what's up ? " she exclaimed. 
44 You look scared ! " 

" He hadn't got back ! " 

" What ! You mean to say that the other 
guy hadn't got round the world in three 
months ? " 

11 No. Phew ! It was an experience ! I 
had the greatest difficulty to get away. She 
swallowed it all about the shipwreck and 
the brigands." 

The girl in the bed doubled up with 

" I know what it was. I guess the other 
feller didn't remain heart-whole either." 

All of which requires a certain amount of 

IT is necessary to go back to the first 
departure of Augustus. To describe it 
briefly it is only necessary to say that he 
left the house in Chelsea in such a fever of* 
anxiety to race round the earth that he did 
not devote sufficient thought to the essential 
details of the competition. He found that 
there was a big liner leaving for New York 
that night, and he caught it by the skin of 
his teeth. He had been three days at sea 
before he realized that he was going round the 
world the wrong way I It probably all came 
about through their giving him a blank, 
instead of a paper on which it was definitely 
stated that he had to go East. 

The realization staggered him. It was 
too late. There was no means of leaving 
the ship. They would not reach New York 
for a week. Assuming he caught a boat 
back at once, this would give Jeremiah a 
fortnight's start. Augustus was desolate, 
and one evening he confessed the whole 
story to Maisie Denver, the daughter of an 
American dentist. Her sympathy . and 
homely charm were an enormous help to 
him. In two days' time he began to look 
at her, and then he realized that she indeed 

was the woman of his destiny. She set him 
no difficult problem to do. She just loved 
him quietly and effectively. She was cer- 
tainly very impressed by some of his feats, 
but she did not demand them of him. For 
instance, when he stood on his head on the 
deck rail, she clapped her hands, and 
exclaimed to her father : — 

*' My ! Can you beat it ? " 

As her father was a portly old gentleman 
in the early 'sixties, you must understand 
that the remark was not issued as a challenge, 
but only as a term of approbation. They 
got married in New York, and Augustus was 
bewildered with happiness. At the same 
time the affair of the competition worried 
him. Jeremiah was his greatest friend. 
One had to play the game. Some things 
aren't done, don't you know. It was 
Maisie's suggestion that was ultimately 
adopted — a harmless compromise. To re- 
turn too late, when the other fellow had had 
plenty of time to get round the earth twice. 
It was also her idea about the shipwreck 
and the brigands. Women are thorough. 
No wonder she laughed in bed. 

And so to-day you find both Jeremiah and 
Augustus happily married, and a long life 
of usefulness and entertainment stretched 
out before them. 

BUT what of Isobel ? Alas ! She is now 
rapidly approaching her twenty-fourth 
year, and remains a lonely woman. Thus 
do we see how our evil actions come back on 
us. She had bought all her outfit for the nun- 
nery, but decided eventually to wait another 
season — or two. She was last seen lunching 
at the Carlton with a bishop. The bishop 
was drinking port, and Isobel was helping 
herself to a nectarine. Our aunt, who was 
seated at the next table, and has astonish- 
ingly g°od hearing, said that there was 
nothing Biblical about the remarks that the 
bishop was making to her. She had cherry- 
brandy with her coffee, and was wearing a 
frock that no " really nice woman " would 
wish to wear in the daytime, nor even in 
the evening. And so, oh ! sisters of Isobel, 
beware ! Nemesis lurks in the stones of 
these exotic fruits. We all have our Garden 
of Eden. Let me implore you, as you 
wander thither — be content with the homely 
apple, lest in due course you find yourself 
in similar case to that of Isobel Bloom. 

e w 

^ Google 

Original from 

'~nin Doyle 



.i^ked me to destroy her 
^onlroom grate. 

" V.THl 


A<x *HiiE 










, a 




is to 
hen I 
in the 


om the 

yet, pre- 

that she 

r death 

after you 

you heard 

? " 

, I heard 
£. But, in- 
ieed, Mr, 
Holmes, I 
was so agi- 
tated and 
horrified by 


The Problem of Thor Bridge 

nobility of character which would make her 
influence always for the good. She was a 
brunette, tall, with a noble figure and com- 
manding presence, but her dark eyes had in 
them the appealing, helpless expression of the 
hunted creature who feels the nets around it, 
but can see no way out from the toils. Now, 
as she realized the presence and the help of 
my famous friend, there 
came a touch of colour in 
her wan cheeks and a light 
of hope began to glimmer 
in the glance which she 
turned upon us* 

" Perhaps Mr, Neil Gib- 
son has told you some- 
thing of what occurred 
between us ? JJ she asked, 
in a low, agitated voice, 

"Yes," Holmes an- 
swered ; "you need not 
pain yourself by entering 
into that part of the story, 
After seeing you, 1 am 
prepared to accept Mr, 
Gibson's statement both 
as to the influence which 
you had over him and as 
10 the innocence of your 
relations with him, But 
why was the whole situa- 
tion not brought out in 
court ? " 

" It seemed to me in- 
credible that such a charge 
could be sustained. I 
thought that if we waited 
the whole thing must clear 
itself up without our being 
compelled to enter into painful details of the 
inner life of the family. But I understand 
that far from clearing it has become even 
more serious." 

" My dear young lady," cried Holmes, 
earnestly, " I beg you to have no illusions 
upon the point. Mr. Cummings here would 
assure you that all the cards are at present 
against us, and that we must do everything 
that is possible if we are to win clear. It 
would be a cruel deception to pretend that 
you are not in very great danger, Give me 
all the help you can, then, to get at the truth. " 

4i I will conceal nothing/' 

*■ Tell us, then, of your true relations with 
Mr. Gibson's wife." 

41 She hated me, Mr, Holmes. She hated 
me with all the fervour of her tropical nature. 
She was a woman who would do nothing by 
halves, and the measure of her love for her 
husband was the measure also of her hatred 
for me. It is probable that she misunder- 
stood our relations. I would not wish to 
wrong her, but she loved so vividly in a 
physical sense that she could hardly under- 

stand the mental, and even spiritual, tie 
which held her husband to me, or imagine 
that it was only my desire to influence his 
power to good ends which kept me under 
his roof, I can see now that I was wrong. 
Nothing could justify me in remaining 
where I was a cause of unhappiness, and yet 
it is certain that the unhappiness would have 

"She poured her whole 
wild fury out in burning 
and horrible words — 

by Google 

remained even if I had left 

the house/' 

" Now, Miss Dunbar/' said 
Holmes, " I beg you to tell us 
exactly what occurred that evening. 1 ' 

" I can tell you the truth so far as I 
know it, Mr. Holmes, but I am in a position 
to prove nothing; and there are points— the 
most vital points — which I can neither 
explain nor can 1 imagine any explanation/' 

11 If you will find the facts, perhaps others 
may find the explanation." 

" With regard , then, to my presence at 
Thor Bridge that night, I received a note 
from Mrs, Gibson in the morning. It lay oa 
Original from 


A. Conan Doyle 


the table of the schoolroom, and it may have 
been left there by her own hand. It implored 
me to see her there after dinner, said she had 
something important to say to me, and asked 
me to leave an answer on the sundial in the 
garden, as she desired no one to be in our 
confidence. I saw no reason for such 
secrecy, but I did as she asked, accepting the 

appointment. She asked me to destroy her 
note and I burned it in the schoolroom grate. 
She was very much afraid of her husband, 
who treated her with a harshness for which I 
frequently reproached him, and I could only 
imagine that she acted in this way because 
she did not wish him to know of our inter- 
view. " 

ri Yet she kept your reply very carefully ? -* 
" Yes. I was surprised to hear that she had 
it in her hand when she died/* 
4 Well, what happened then ? M 
** I went down as I had promised. When 
I reached the bridge she was waiting 
for me. Never did I realize till that 
moment how this poor creature hated 
me. She was like a mad woman — 
indeed, I think she was a mad 
woman, subtly mad with the deep 
power of deception which insane 
people may have. How else could 
she have met me with unconcern 
every day and yet had so raging a 
hatred of me in her heart ? I will 
not say what she said. She poured 
her whole wild fury out in burning 
and horrible words. I. did not even 
answer — 1 could not. It was dread- 
ful to see her, 1 put my hands to 
my ears and rushed away. When I 
left her she was standing still shriek- 
ing out her curses at me, in the 
mouth of the bridge/' 

1 Where she was afterwards 
found ? " 

' Within a few yards from the 

" And yet, 
suming that 

met her death 
shortly after you 
left her, you heard 
no shot ? M 

"No, I heard 
nothing. But, in- 
deed, Mr* 
Holmes, I 
was so agi- 
tated and 
horrified by 

-1 put my hands to my ears 
and rushed away," 

by Google 

Original from 

2I 4 

The Problem of Thor Bridge 

this terrible outbreak that I rushed to get 
back to the peace of my own room, and I 
was incapable of noticing anything which 

" You say that you returned to your room. 
Did you leave it again before next morning ? " 

" Yes ; when the alarm came that the poor 
creature had met her death I ran out with 
the others." 

" Did you see Mr. Gibson ? " 

" Yes ; he had just returned from the 
bridge when I saw him. He had sent for 
the doctor and the police." 

" Did he seem to you much perturbed ? " 

" Mr. Gibson is a very strong, self-contained 
man. I do not think that he would ever 
show his emotions on the surface. But I, 
who knew him so well, could see that he was. 
deeply concerned." 

" Then we come to the all-important point. 
This pistol that was found in your room. 
Had you ever seen it before ? " 

" Never, I swear it." 

" When was it found ? " 

" Next morning, when the police made 
their search." 

" Among your clothes ? " 

" Yes ; on the floor of my wardrobe under 
my dresses." 

" You could not guess how long it had 
been there ? " 

" It had not been there the morning 

" How do you know ? " 

" Because I tidied out the wardrobe." 

" That is final. Then someone came into 
your room and placed the pistol there in 
order to inculpate you." 

" It must have been so." 

" And when ? " 

" It could only have been at meal-time, 
or else at the hours when I would be in the 
schoolroom with the children." 

" As you were when you got the note ? " 

" Yes ; from that time onwards, for the 
whole morning." 

" Thank you, Miss Dunbar. Is there any 
other point which could help me in the 
investigation ? " 

" I can think of none." 

" There was some sign of violence on the 
stone-work of the bridge — a perfectly fresh 
chip just opposite the body. Could you 
suggest any possible explanation of that ? " 

" Surely it must be a mere coincidence." 

" Curious, Miss Dunbar, very curious. 
Why should it appear at the very time of 
the tragedy and why at the very place ? " 

" But what could have caused it ? Only 
great violence could have such an effect," 

Holmes did not answer. His pale, eager 
face had suddenly assumed that tense, far- 
away expression which I had learned to 
associate with the supreme manifestations 

Digitized by G* 

of his genius. So evident was the crisis in 
his mind that none of us dared to speak, and 
we sat, barrister, prisoner, and myself, 
watching him in a concentrated and absorbed 
silence. Suddenly he sprang from his chair, 
vibrating with nervous energy and the 
pressing need for action. 

" Come, Watson, come ! " he cried. 

" What is it, Mr. Holmes ? " 

" Never mind, my dear lady. You will 
hear from me, Mr. Cummings. With the 
help of the God of justice I will give you a 
case which will make England ring. You 
will get news by to-morrow, Miss Dunbar, 
and meanwhile take my assurance that the 
clouds are lifting and that I have every hope 
that the light of truth is breaking through." 

IT was not a long journey from Winchester 
to Thor Place, but it was long to me in 
my impatience, while for Holmes it was 
evident that it seemed endless ; for, in his 
nervous restlessness, he could not sit still, but 
paced the carriage or drummed with his long, 
sensitive fingers upon the cushions beside him. 

Suddenly, however, as we neared our 
destination he seated himself opposite to me 
— we had a first-class carriage to ourselves — 
and laying a hand upon each of my knees 
he looked into my eyes with the peculiarly 
mischievous gaze which was characteristic 
of his more imp-like moods. 

" Watson," said he, " I have some re- 
collection that you go armed upon these 
excursions of ours." 

It was as well for him that I did so, tor he 
took little care for his own safety when his 
mind was once absorbed by a problem, so 
that more than once my revolver had been 
a good friend in need. I reminded him of 
the fact. 

i4 Yes, yes, I am a little absent-minded in 
such matters. But have you your revolver 
on you ? " 

I produced it from my hip-pocket, a short, 
handy, but very serviceable little weapon. 
He undid the catch, shook out the cartridges, 
and examined it with care. 

" It's heavy — remarkably heavy," said he. 

" Yes, it is a solid bit of work." 

He mused over it for a minute. 

" Do you know, Watson," said he, " I 
believe your revolver is going to have a very 
intimate connection with the mystery which 
we are investigating." 
." My dear Holmes, you are joking." 

" No, Watson, I am very serious. There 
is a test before us. If the test comes off, all 
will be clear. And the test will depend upon 
the conduct of this little weapon. One 
cartridge out. Now we will replace the 
other five and put on the safety-catch. So ! 
That increases the weight and makes it- a 
better reproduction." 

Original from 


A. Conan Doyle 


Suddenly Holmes sprang from his chair. * Come, Watson, come ! ' he said. ' With the 
help of the God of justice i wilt give you a case which will make England ring.' ' 



The Problem of Thor Bridge 

I had no glimmer of what was in his mind 
nor did he enlighten me, but sat lost in 
thought until we pulled up in the little 
Hampshire station. We secured a ram- 
shackle trap, and in a quarter of an hour 
were at the house of our confidential friend, 
the sergeant. 

'* A clue, Mr. Holmes ? . What is it ? " 
" It all depends upon the behaviour of 
Dr. Watson's revolver," said my friend. 
" Here it is. Now, officer, can you give me 
ten yards of string ? '' 

The village shop provided a ball of stout 

" I think that this is all we will need," 
said Holmes. " Now, if you please, we will 
get off on what I hope is the last stage of our 

The sun was setting and turning the rolling 
Hampshire moor into a wonderful autumnal 
panorama. The sergeant, with many criti- 
cal and incredulous glances, which showed 
his deep doubts of the sanity of my com- 
panion, lurched along beside us. As we 
approached the scene of the crime I could 
see that my friend under all his habitual 
coolness was in truth deeply agitated. 

"* Yes," he said, in answer to my remark, 
" you have seen me miss my mark before, 
Watson. I have an instinct for such things, 
and yet it has sometimes played me false. 
It seemed a certainty when first it flashed 
across my mind in the cell at Winchester, but 
one drawback of an active mind is that one 
can always conceive alternative explanations 
which would make our scent a false one. 

And yet — and yet Well, Watson, we can 

but try." 

As he walked he had firmly tied one end 
of the string to the handle of the revolver. 
We had now reached the scene of the tragedy. 
With great care he marked out under the 
guidance of the policeman the exact spot 
where the body had been stretched. He then 
hunted among the heather and the ferns 
until he found a considerable stone. This 
he secured to the other end of his line of 
string, and he hung it over the parapet of 
the bridge so that it swung clear above the 
water. He then stood on the fatal spot, 
some distance from the edge of the bridge, 
with my revolver in his hand, the string 
being taut between the weapon and the 
heavy stone on the farther side. 
" Now for it ! " he cried. 
At the words he raised the pistol to his 
head, and then let go his grip. In an instant 
it had been whisked away by the weight of 
the stone, had struck with a sharp crack 
against the parapet, and had vanished over 
the side into the water. It had hardly gone 
before Holmes was kneeling beside the 
stonework, and a joyous cry showed that he 
had found what he expected. 

Digiiized by L^OOgle 

" Was there ever a more exact demonstra- 
tion ? " he cried. " See, Watson, your 
revolver has solved the problem ! " As he 
spoke he pointed to a second chip of the 
exact size and shape of the first which had 
appeared on the under edge of the stone 

" We'll stay at the inn to-night," he 
continued, as he rose and faced the astonished 
sergeant. " You will, of course, get a 
grappling hook and you will easily restore 
my friend's revolver. You will also find 
beside it the revolver, string, and weight 
with which this vindictive woman attempted 
to disguise her own crime and to fasten a 
charge of murder upon an innocent victim. 
You can let Mr. Gibson know that I will see 
him in the morning, when steps can be taken 
for Miss Dunbar's vindication." 

LATE that evening, as we sat together 
u smoking our pipes in the village inn, 
Holmes gave me a brief review of what 
had passed. 

"■ I fear, Watson," said he, " that you will 
not improve any reputation which. I may 
have acquired by adding the Case of the 
Thor Bridge Mystery to your annals. I have 
been sluggish in mind and wanting in that 
mixture of imagination and reality which is 
the basis of my art. I confess that the chip 
in the stonework was a sufficient clue to 
suggest the true solution, and that I blame 
myself for not having attained it sooner. 

"It must be admitted that the workings 
of this unhappy woman's mind were deep 
and subtle, so that it was no very simple 
matter to unravel her plot. I do not think 
that in our adventures we have ever come 
across a stranger example of what perverted 
love can bring about. Whether Miss Dunbar 
was her rival in a physical or in a merely 
mental sense seems to have been equally 
unforgivable in her eyes. No doubt she 
blamed this innocent lady for all those harsh 
dealings and unkind words with which her 
husband tried to repel her too demonstrative 
affection. Her first resolution was to end 
her own life. Her second was to do it in 
such a way as to involve her victim in a fate 
which was worse far than any sudden death 
could be. 

" We can follow the various steps quite 
clearly, and they show a remarkable subtlety 
of mind. A note was extracted very cleverly 
from Miss Dunbar which would make it 
appear that she had chosen the scene of the 
crime. In her anxiety that it should be 
discovered she somewhat overdid it, by 
holding it in her hand to the last. This alone 
should have excited my suspicions earlier 
than it did. 

" Then she. took one of her husband's 
revolvers — there was, as you saw, an arsenal 



A, Conan Doyle 


in the Uonse^-and .kept it for her own use. 
A similar one. she concealed that morning in 
Miss Dunbar's wardrobe after discharging 
one barrel, which she could easily do in the 
woods without attracting attention, She 
then went down to the bridge where she had 
contrived this exceedingly ingenious method 
for getting rid of her weapon. When Miss 
huubai appeared she used her last breath 
in pouring out her hatred, and then, when 
she was out of hearing, carried out Jilt 
terrible purpose. Every link is 
now in its place and the chain 
is complete. The papers may 
ask why the mere was not 
dragged in the first instance, but 
it is easy to Ik- wise after the 
event, and in any ease 
th° expanse of a reed- 
hlled lake is no easy 

matter to drag unless you have a clear per- 
ception of what yon are looking for and 
where. Well, Watson, we have helped a re- 
markable woman, and also a formidable man, 
Should they in the future join their forces, as 
seems not unlikely, the financial world may 
find that Mr. Neil Gibson 
has learned something iti 
that schoolroom of Sorrow 
where our earthly lessons 
are taught/' 

" Holmes was kneeling beside the stonework, and a joyous cry showed that he had / 

found what he expected. M )rjgjn a I from 





aivd Unrehearsed Effects 




H Scraggy," Th« Equine Comedian. 

YKAKS an 1 years ago, when I was 
appearing at the London Pavilion, 
I had a song called " The Man 
They Left Behind/ in which it 
was necessary that 1 should introduce a 
horse. For several weeks I searched tor a 
suitable animal, until at Jast a very old iriend 
of mine introduced me to " Scraggy " m 
a stable at Lambelh, He looked such a 
helpless bag of bones — the horse, I mean — 
that I burst out laughing immediately I 
saw him, 

* If it's for a comic song you require him," 
said my friend, " poor old Scraggy will do 
you a treat— provided he stands up all 

1 had my doubts on that point myself, but 

I decided to take my chance, and purchased 
him right away, A few hours later my valet 
and I were dressing him up for his first 
appearance on the stage. We fitted a pair 
of cricket pads to his lore -legs, tied a ib moo- 
poke " to his tail, and fixed a piece of matting 
on his back lor a saddle. 

When I mounted, I half expected him to 
give way under my weight and break in the 
middle, but he managed to hold together 
all right, and when we ambled slowly on to 
the stage we were greet ed with one of the 
biggest laughs I ever heard. Just as I was 
umgratu latin g myself upon the success of 
our entrance, somebody standing in the 
wings gave Scraggy a prod with some 
sharp instrument* He made one spring 
forward, then stopped dead — and I shot over 
his head as if I'd been fired from a gun. 

Of oiursf\ the audience thought it was ail 

" Somebody standing m the wings gave Scraggy a prod. He made one spring forward, 
then stopped dead and 1 shot over \m bead/' 


And Unrehearsed Effects 


set," completely 

part of the per- 
formance, and 
yelled with all 
th<vr might. In 
fact, ene fellow 
in the gallery 
cried out M Do it 
again, Harry! " 

'No/' said I, 
rubbing my 
fanny bone, J I 
only do that 
wance a nicht/* 

A Chapter of 




In my concert- 
party days I once 
remember doing 
a comedy dance 
during the usual 
"'sit-round/' and 
when 1 attempted 
to turn a somer- 
sault for my exit, 
I caught my foot 
in the black plush 
curtain and 
brought down the entire 
enveloping the company I 

A far worse chapter of accidents, however, 
occurred at Birmingham during the run of a 
pretty little song-scena in which we appeared 
as Red Indians. To begin with, two men 
were supposed to fight with knives, but the 
fellow who should have won accidentally 
dropped his weapon into the orchestra, and 
had to borrow the other man's knife to 
finish off the M scrap." 

A few minutes later the Great Chief Eagle 
Face came gliding along the river in his 
canoe, and standing up in his frail craft sang 
a song in a rich baritone voice. This 
particular evening, however, the canoe 
appeared to he extremely + ' wobbly/ 1 and 
the chief was so anxious for his own safety 
that he cut his song short. The result 
was that, when he had finished, the stage 
hands were not ready for the cue to pull 
him off, 

I was the first to grasp the situation, and I 
immediately dashed off the stage to take the 
matter into my own hands. I pulled one 
rope, and the canoe started to move back- 
wards, so I decided to crawl along on my 
stomach and tow the craft by hand. In 
doing so, however, I had the misfortune to 
knock down the river bank, exposing myself 
to the full view of the audience, and reveal- 
ing the fact that the ' canoe H was a 
camouflaged sugar- box, mounted on jnr am- 
bulator wheels ! 

gilized by LjOOgle 

11 I had the misfortune to knock down the rivet bank, revealing the 
fact that the canoe * was a camouflaged sugar- box, mounted 

perambulator wheels!" 


"Eait Lynnc" Turned to Farce, 

When quite a little girl I toured with a 
" fit-up " company in *" East Lynne " and 
played the part of Little Willie. Those who 
know this good old-fashioned melodrama 
will recollect that the climax of the play is 
tin tragic death of the child without 
recognizing his own mother. 

Now the leading lady of the company was 
no lightweight, and one night, as she sobl^ed 
out her lines " Dead f And he never called 
me ' Mother ' ! " she happened to lean a 
little too heavily on the bed i which was 
yy faked " from a number of ginger-beer 
crates), with the result that the whole affair 
collapsed, precipitating us both to the 
ground, and incidentally revealing the fact 
that the lifeless little Willie was dressed as a 
girl, and had her boots on ready to go home. 

N red less to say, the audience went into 
hysterics, and for the rest of the performance 
every mention of little Willie's death 
provoked a fresh outburst of laughter. 

Rare and Refreshing Fruit. 
By W. H. BERRY. 

The most remarkable " dry- up " in my 
experience was the result" of carelessness on 
the part of a scene-shifter. 

I was appearing in a typical ' rural "• 
play j the producer of which w T as most par- 
ticular in insisting that each scene should 
t>ear the cotJci^iit^cfhocpfi ' local colour. 1 ' 




Dry-Ups ' 

Tor example, in the first act there was an 
interior setting representing a Devonshire 
farmhouse, and in addition to the old oak 
rafter;? and the large open hearth, the 
realism of the scene was greatly enhanced 
by three large hams which hung from the 
ceiling in the process of drying. 

The second scene was even more pictur- 
esque. I was discovered in smock and 
gaiters, sitting in the shade 6f an apple 
orchard in full bloom, and a realistic effect 
of falling blossoms gave the finishing touch 
to what was already a work of art. 

One night, however, in addition to the 
round of applause which usually greeted the 
rise of the curtain on* this paradise upon 
earth, I was flattered to hear also a gigantic 
roar of laughter. I opened my mouth to 
speak, but the laughter grew louder and 
louder. There I sat, lee! in g extremely 
pleased with myself, until I happened to 
raise my eyes — and then the truth thrust 
itself up m me. 

Hanging among the apple trees were three 
large hams ! 

An Awkward Denouement. 


While in The Merry Widow," 1 accepted 
nn invitation to a shoot in Buckinghamshire, 
On the way back to town the car broke down, 
and I had to get back to the theatre by 
means of tram, train, and taxi I arrived 
in the theatre just: as they were calling out 
my name. There was only one minute left 
before my first entrance. I 
grabbed a hat and cloak ;md 
went on, into the midst of as 
swagger a crowd as ever graced 
a titled lady's reception-room. 
All would have been well if I 
had not lost my grip cm my 
cloak, It fell to the ground, 
disclosing me m a shooting kit, 
with heavy, mud-covered boots 
and bits of fur and feather all 
over nv. 

It was i terrific success — the 
audience was convulsed. But 
that make -tip was w)t 
repeated ! 

When I was playing 
in 'The Fettle Mil bus" 
it wes my custom to 
bang my hand on a 
property Cnmeml>ert 
cheese. One night the 
property - man left a 
nail in it, and when I 
banned the ripe and 
re ve red from age the 
nail pierced my glove 
and flesh. Blood 
streamed out of my 



with gl< 

glove-tips, and I danced around in agony. 
The audience roared with glee — believing this 
to be a bit of " business/' It was so success- 
ful as a laugh-provoker that the incident 
was retained — without the nail, of course ! 

Pathos And Bathos. 


Some years ago I was playing at the 
Theatre Royal, Nottingham, in a musical 
comedy called iH Billy," I wag entrusted with 
the part of a good-for-nothing son, and the 
first act ended with a dramatic finale, in 
which I was supposed to he turned out of 
the house, disgraced before all the servant*. 

" Go," said my father, in a voice of thunder, 
tL and never darken my doors again ! " 

Without a word, I stepped to the doorway, 
and then turned with an appealing look, 

"Good-bye, father/' 1 said, 'good-bye— 
for ever 1 " and with those words the whole 
company struck " a picture JJ and waited for 
the curtain to fall, 

LSut the curtain didn't ! After ringing 
frantically for about three minutes, the stage 
manager discovered that the fly-men had 
gone out for a drink, and eventually he had 
to climb the ladder at the side of the stage 
and lower the curtain himself — by which 
time the entire company had shuffled ofl the 
stage feeling utter fools' 

The Knock-Out Blow. 

In a small touring company with which 
1 was travelling some years ago 
I was cast for the role of the 
villain. In the principal scene 
the hero was supposed to fight 
me for the girl's hand — and, of 
course, to win the day with a 
knock-out blow. 

Although he was a 
bigger fellow than 
myself, I happened to 
know a little more 
about boxing than 
he, and one night in 
my efforts to impart 
realism into the prize- 
fight, I hit him rather 
harder than I had in- 
tended, and he fell to 
the ground with what 
the novelists calj a 
* sickening thud/ 1 

Hoping to give him 
time to recover, The 
" refereec ** began to 
count the seconds 
very slowly, surrep- 
titiously administer- 
ing the fallen hero a 
-<\:i\< ki< k with his 


One night the piopeity-man 

v left a nail in the cheese, and 

when I banged it the nail pierced my 

glove and flesh. The audience roarei 



And Unrehearsed Effects 


foot as he pro- 
ceeded. To me, 
the counting-out 
process seemed 
something like 
this : — 

"One." {A 

"Two." (An- 
other pause.) 

"Three." (Kick) 

"Foot." ("Come 
on, Dick, get up ! ") 

'* Five/' (I-ong 

" Three!' * (Hard 

"Four," ("Get 
up, you idiot! ,J ) 

"Five." . . . 

This sort of thin g 
continued for a 
good deal longer 
than ten seconds, 
although by a cer- 
tain amount of repetition the "referee " 
had succeeded in keeping the count down 
to eight, until at hst the hero managed to 
stagger to his feet. 

44 Hit me!" I whispered, as I stepped 
forward with my guard open. He looked at 
me inquiringly for a moment, then, realizing 
what was required of him, he gave me a 
feeble tap on the nose— -and I fell like a log, 
amidst the derisive cheers of the gallery, 

In about four seconds 1 was counted out 
and the hero declared the wjnner^tbough, 
to tell the truth, no sooner had the curtain 
fallen than he collapsed again ! 

A Railway Disaster. 


I once appeared in a drama, the climax 
of which was a very thrilling spectacular 
effect, in which the heroine was bound to the 
railway track, awaiting her cruel fate beneath 
the wheels of the oncoming express. The 
excitement of the audience always rose to 
fever heat when they heard, first the shrill 
whittle, then the roar of the engine and the 
hiss of^ the escaping steam drawing nearer 
and nearer ; and when eventually the girl 
managed to free herself from her bonds 
and roll clear of the track just a^ the train 
roared past, the applause was terrific. 

I was in charge of the working of ihe 
express train— a very realistic affair, consist- 
ing of a full-sized dummy engine and a 
miml-er of canvas coaches, which were made 
to fold up in the wings on the concertina 
principle. Incoming unfolded in succession, 
presenting quite a solid appearance as they 
crossed the stage h and folding themselves 
again as they reached the opposite side. 

*The leading lady turned lo me with the remark that she wished 
some people could be as funny on the stage as they were off it," 

The entire train was suspended by invisible 
wires from a cable which ran high up in the 
flies, and the dummy engine was pulled by 
means of a cord which ran along the floor. 

One evening, alas ! a calamity befell us. 
Either the heroine was too long in freeing 
herself from her bonds, or I pulled on the 
train a few seconds too early. Anyhow, the 
lady's flowing tresses caught in the buffer of 
the engine ! 

She struggled with all her might to dis- 
entangle them, and 1 slowed down the train 
to give her time to pull herself away, but it 
was no use. The audience, seeing that some- 
thing was wrong, began to titter, with the 
result that the leading lady completely lost 
her temper and gave the engine a mighty 
push. The result was disastrous. With a 
clatter of folding trellis-work, the whole of 
the rear portion of the train rushed on to 
the stage and neatly folded itself concertina- 
f ash ion behind the engine, and finally the 
whole concern toppled over. By the time 
the curtain descended the audience were in 
a state of hysteria, The leading lady, 
id most foaming at the mouth with rage and 
humiliation, turned to me with the remark 
that she wished some people could be as 
funny on the stage as they were off it ; and 
the stage manager ordered me off the side 
for fear that I might upset the rest of the 

A Wonderful Reception. 

When appearing at a well -known variety 
theatre in the North of England in the days 
lie fore the ( . -war, L rpnee had occasion, in 
company witlV-'flne 1 ' offiel? artistes who were 



" Dry-Ups" 

*■ on the bill/' to give an extra performance. 
There had been a big dinner and reception 
given by the newly-elected Unionist candi- 
date to all the political workers in the town, 
and it was arranged' that all his guests 
should afterwards retire in a body to .the 
theatre, where we were to give an extra 
show after the second house was over. 

In the usual course of events I retired 
to my dressing-room i in mediately after the 
public performance, and remained there 
until the call-boy shouted my name. Having 
been called, I made my way to the stage, 
and stood in the win^s waiting for my cue. 
Presently the orchestra bell tinkled, and my 
number appeared on the indicator. I braced 
myself together preparatory to making my 
entrance, when 1 was pleasantly surprised to 
hear the sound of cheering. 
Encouraged by this outburst 
I stepped on to the stage 
determined to give 
of my best. As 
soon as I appeared 
the entire audience 
rose to their feet, 
waving their hats, 
banging sticks on 
the floor, and 
cheering them- 
selves hoarse. I 
smiled modestly, 
and waited for the 
applause to die 
down, b u t the 
cheer grew to a 
roar. It was the 
most wonderful re- 
ception I had ever 
received in my life, 
for the applause 
lasted for nearly 
five minutes, and 
I was quite unable 
to open my mouth 
to sing, 

Then some- 
body sitting in 
front shouted 
M Speech I " unci 
the applause came 
with renewed vio- 
lence, whilst the 
demand for li 
"speech'* was 
echoed on all sides. 

Then suddenly I 
realized the cause 
of it all, Mr. 

I Sonar Law had just enter..; the box at the 
side of the stage, and it was to him that the 
enthusiasm of the audience was directed, 

I crept off the stage unnoticed, feeling 
about the size of a stick of grcase-t 

** I was so carried away by 
* Innocent Innocent I ' and threw up both 
hands. The dock (ell forward and there 
big shriek of merriment/* 



A Rem! " Dry*Up." 

It was at a provincial music-hall, and I 
was presenting a character sketch entitled 
" The Stage-Door Keeper/' One night, as 
I made my entrance, the overhead fire 
sprinkler opened, and a waterfall came down, 
drenching me to the skin. The orchestra 
picked np their music and instruments and 
fled, but 1 decided to stick to my guns. 

The stage manager and his assistants threw 
brooms and mops on to the stage, and I set 
to work to roll up the carpets arid clear up 
the mess, continuing with my -< Stage- Door 
Keeper " patter all the while. 

By the time I had finished my turn the 
stage was once more restored to order, 
and sprinkled with sawdust. That was n 
11 dry up " indeed ! 

Afterward.? a young 

lady said to me : " I 

think that water e fleet 

was awfully funny, but 

doesn't it mean a 

serious inconvenience to 

other artistes who have to 

follow you ? " 

Another time I was 
playing the part of a hero 
who had been wrongfully 
■ reused of forgery, and 
the climax came when I 
was declared guilty in a 
crowded court. 

One night, as I stood 
for my "trial," the canvas 
"dock" seemed rather in- 
secure, so I decided to hold 
f»-i to it with one hand to 
prevent it from failing. 
When the judge spoke 
the fateful words, how- 
ever, I was so carried 
away with my 
part that I cried 
' Innocent —In- 
nocent ! " and 
threw up both 

The dock fell 
forward, and T 
waited for the 
inevitable titter 
which usually ac- 
companies such 
stage accidents. 

But instead c?f 
a litter there 
came one big 
shriek of merriment— and then I realised 
what had tickled everybody so immensely. 
In order to be ready for the next scene, I 
was wearing my convict breeches, with broad 
arrows and-i^gil|lftftli<tftPFllHp*?d stockings ! 





EFN from its en- 
trance, the dis- 
creet little saloon 
bar, upon that 
dull evening of early 
winter, had the effect 
of an ornate shrine. 
Its nearer lights were 
subdued, but in the 
background the strong 
electroliers shone upon 
that popular altar, the 
bar, in a blaze ami 
dazzle of glass and brass, with a plump and 
golden -haired priestess moving deftly in the 
" celebration of its rites. Upon the plush 
settees quiet people sat in a still content; a 
town traveller was entertaining a shopkeeper 
hi a corner ; and the noises of the street 
reached them only as the clamour of the world 
might reach a hermitage. 

Even the town traveller remarked upon 
the trash and tranquillity of the place. 

" Quiet little pub ! " he said u Restful. 

1 call it, after a day of ■" He broke off 

and stared, "Hallo! Who's this comin' 
in ? " 

A large woman had thrust open the swing 
door and was moving across the room to 
the bar, In her very gait she was notice- 
able ; there was a sort of showmanship in 
it, as of a thing performed consciously for 
the pitblic eye + Under her large and elalx>rate 
hat there were brass -hued curls ; her great 
face, with its peach -bloom complexion, its 
blood-lined mouth, and skilfully enhanced 
eyes, looked over a fur stole that exaggerated 
the vastness of her bosom. Trinkets clinked 
about her as she moved ; she had — -she has 
st ill— a positive aura of lavish ness and over- 
powering selfnconsequence. The low-toned 
conversation on the settees died ; everyone 
paid her the tribute of stares. In that little 
assembly of simple folk, all with a day's 
work behind them, she was as conspicuous 
as a ifown in a cathedral. 

She brought up alongside the bar like a 
steamer at a wharf ; it was plain at once 
that she bad an excellent bar-side manner. 
She gave to the barmaid a smile of mingled 




camaraderie and con- 

■ 'Evenin', dear, "she 
said, " A drop J the 
usual, if you please. 
Cold evenin', isn't it? ** 
The barmaid ack- 
nowledged the salute 
with gratification. The 
new-comer drew oft her 
gloves, laid them and 
her handbag on the 
bar, and received her 
potion of water-coloured spirits. She leaned 
upon an elbow while she sippet! il, gossiped 
with the barmaid, and gazed blandly about 

" I must say/' she confided — " I must say, 
all things considered, I find gin's the best 
thing for keeping your figure. And I've 
tried most things, too/' 

All w + ere listening; only the shopkeeper, 
in a careful whisper, gave information to his 

" That's Miss Floyd/' he said. " Customer 
o H mine. Retired actress she is." 

" Floyd ! " repeated the traveller, thought- 
fully He started and stared at his guest, 
honestly aghast. ' You don't mean to say — 
good Lord, d'you mean to tell me that (hat's 
all that's left of Flossie Floyd ? Flossie — 
whose photographs used to sell all over 
I^ondon like postage -stamps ? Why, I 
remember I used to have one in my room — - 
only burnt it when I got married ! It can't 
be her/' 

" lt h s her all right,'* affirmed the other, 
14 I never saw her myself till she moved down 
this way last year ; but I 'card she'd been 
good-lookin' in her time." 

"Good-looking!" The town traveller's 
whisper threatened to become a shout. 
" Shf 1 was the loveliest thing that ever smiled 
over the footlights. Couldn't act, couldn't 
sing, couldn't dance ; her face and her shape 
was all she had — and it was enough ! And 
that's her now — that gin-tippling old hag 
over there ! Pity she didn't die ! ' 

" She's a good customer/' said the shop- 
keeper, defitotfl+ial|lirorn 



Saint Flossie 

The lady at the \ku caused her drink to 
be renewed, and continued to philosophize 
to an audience that hung on her every word. 

'* Champagne, now ! "she observed. " I've 
seen th<_- day when 1 could ha' swum in it ; 
hut it never suited me constitution. An" 
beer's fatten in \ So I say again — an' I don't 
tare who says different — -that, all things 
considered, the best M 

She rambled on uninterrupted p the focus 
i if all eyes and ears. It is in the saloon bar 
that the qualities which the fresh -air world 
rejects come into their own, Save for 
reservations by the town traveller, none of 
her spellbound audience beheld the tragic 
monstrosity of her, the profitless and 
meretricious thing which her life bad mad* 4 
of her. Only the town traveller's lips moved 
noiselessly while he gazed at her dumbly, 
and strove to trace in all her bulk some least 
lineament of the golden, glowing, holy-faced 
creature of iive-and -twenty years before, 

' Flossie Floyd ! " he was repeating in- 
wardly, over and over again. " Flossie 
Floyd F My God I ,J 

For his memory had not played him false. 
There had been a day when she could have 
" swum in champagne/' when si 


1 Good Lord, d'you mean to tell me that 
that's all that's left of Flossie Floyd > — 

a bloom, upon the startling perfection of her 
beauty a seeming of wistful innocence ; when 
her photographs spread like a pest over the 
world of young men. The Universities and 
public schools were rotten with them ; attu 
bedrooms and cabins of warships were glori- 
fied by them ; they spread abroad over the 
world upon the heels of war and commerce. 
Young David Baines took one with him 
when he left Cambridge and returned to his 
home in St. Petersburg. He found a frame 
for it, a heavy old thing of tarnished gill 
about a foot square, and set it on the wall 
of the room that was granted him as a den 
in the huge old Baines house in the Galernaya, 

It was still there, dimmed by age and tin* 
smoke of the cigarettes of twenty-five years, 
never looked al, but lovely still, until that 
evening when the town traveller identified 
Flossie Floyd. 

For it was upon that night that the 
Komissar Baranov, reaching out from bis 
comrn an decked palace in the Millionnaya, 
that gloomy street of frowning, fortress-Hke 
pa hues, sen©NB|toiaJrfftEiaTte armv upon a 


Perceval Gibbon 


— Flossie whose photographs used to sell 
all over London like postage-stamps? 1 

* domiciliary visit " to the home of the 

There had been Baineses in St, Petersburg 
for over a century prospering handsomely 
and honourably, worthy members of that 
strong British colony which had the trading 
functions of the ancient " English factory/' 
Theirs was one of the great rambling houses 
opening by way of a walled courtyard and 
a tall arched gate into the long cobbled street 
which is called the Galernaya. It sheltered 
now David Baincs, his young wife, and his 
widowed mother. There were also a couple 
of female servants who had known service 
and dependence too long to discard them 
easily. And even while Flossie Floyd in 
her London drink-shop was sipping and 
babbling, there came to these live the stamp 
of heavy feet upon the stones of the court, 
the shine of lanterns upon the windows, and 

a thunder of gun-butts beating upon the 

' Open there, you bourgeois 3 iF came in a 
roar of command and menace. " By order 
of the Soviet — open, will you ? " 

Haines, Ins wife, and the old lady had 
been sitting together by the light of a single 
candle. The young woman cried out ; the 
old one put a hand to her bosom ; from 
deeper within the house sounded the squealing 
of the tvyo terrified servants. 

David Baincs rose. He frowned in a 
moment 'a indecision . 

" I must let them in/' he satd. "It isn't 
as if we could keep them ouL Don't resist 
them or oppose them. After all, it's the 
Soviet — not a mob ! ' h 

He bent and kissed both women ; his wife 
citing to him. The noise below increased. 
He put her from him very gently. 

" Stay with mother, dear/' he said. fl I'll 
come back to you here/' 

He passed down the stone stairs in the 
darkness ; he had been born in that house 
and neo<liM QW B^ftlO HTI Voices without bawled 



Saint Flossie 

threats and curses — for the Bolshevik has 
always kept enough of God to swear by. 

" I'm coming ! " he shouted, fumbling at 
the elaborate door fastenings. " Have a 
little patience ! " 

" Hear that ? " It was the renegade ex- 
sergeant of Guards who led the party. 
44 Patience ! " he shouted. " I'll give you 
patience ! " 

David Baines, of course, could see nothing ; 
h^ was still tugging at great, old-fashioned 
bolts. So when the leader outride stepped 
forward with his rifle levelled and, at a 
distance of a foot, sent a nickel-jacketed 
German army bullet through the centre of 
the door, he received it in the heart. His 
knees gave under him and he collapsed, 
sinking to a heap against the foot of the 
door and just within his own threshold. 

" Well ? " bellowed the sergeant. " Are 
you going to open it, or must we blow it 
in ? " He paused for an answer. " I must 
have got him with that shot," he said, turn- 
ing to his men. " Get out a grenade, one 
of you ! It's cold standing about here." 

" Let me come ! Stand away from the 
door, comrades ! " A German ex-prisoner 
of war produced a hand-bomb of the old 
type with a fuse, And stooped to the doorstep. 
He looked up at the sergeant with a grin. 
M Tak tozhe I " he said. *' You got him ; 
here's blood coming under the door ! " 

He lit the fuse from a lantern, placed the 
bomb in position, and retired to cover with 
the rest outside the gate. Half a minute 
later the stillness of the sorrowful and 
danger-laden night was rent by the roar of 
the explosion ; a momentary glamour of 
fire filled the arch of the gate. In the 
candle-lit room upstairs the two women, the 
young one and the old, clasped each other 
in an agony of terror ; in hundreds of 
darkened rooms along the street hearts froze 
with fear upon the noise of the detonation. 

" Now come on ! " ordered the sergeant. 
" Lanterns ahead ! Find the people first ; 
we'll have plenty of time to go through the 
house after we've got our prisoners. In with 
you ! " 

The lanterns led the way through the gap 
where the door lay in splinters and what 
was left of David Baines sprawled broken 
among the wreckage. And the women, 
scarce breathing, rose to confront them as 
they stamped in a throng into the drawing- 
room, bringing their own lights with them to 
supplement the one candle. 

" Good evening, " said the sergeant, 
facetiously. " You are arrested, both of 
you. Who else is in the house ? 

Baranov's private army consisted of nine 
individuals beside the sergeant. It was like 
a hideous nightmare to the women. There 
were four burly Russians of the lowest slum 


type in sheepskins, the German in the leather 
lining of a motor-overcoat, two Chinese 
swathed like mummies, a huge bluejacket in 
uniform, and a slim blond young man, who 
stared at the room and its equipment with 
open mouth, who had no visible mark of 
nationality or calling. 

" Where is my husband ? " asked David 
Baines's widow. 

" The man who came down to the door ? " 
She nodded ; the sergeant winked to his 
followers. " Oh ! he's safe enough ; you'll 
see him in the hall as you go out. Now, 
who else is in the house ? " 

It took only a few minutes to complete 
the arrests. The two servants, imbecile with 
terror, were dragged forth from their foolish 
hiding-places ; all four prisoners were put 
under the guard of the sailor and one of the 
Chinamen ; and the looting of the great 
house commenced. 

" This," cried the sergeant, gaily, *' goes 
with me." 

He scooped a collection of small silver 
bric-a-brac off a table ; there was a roar of 
laughter from the others, and they scattered 
shouting about the house. Only one, the 
tall blond youth, hesitated and seemed un- 
certain. There was a curious air of inde- 
cision as his eyes rested on the prisoners — 
the younger lady supporting the elder, the 
two servants kneeling at their feet and 
clinging to their skirts. 

" Aren't you going to get your share, you 
fool ? " shouted the sergeant at him. 

The youth started. " Yes," he said, after 
a pause. He picked up his lantern, turned, 
and went from the room. 

THE real difficulty in running a revolution 
. is that a leader can never be sure that 
his revolutionaries want the same thing 
as himself. Lenin and Trotsky struck for 
something which they nicknamed an ideal; 
but too many of their supporters struck 
only for food. This youth — Pavel they called 
him — was such a one. When work, black 
bread, and cabbage-soup all came to an end 
together, he accepted the revolution and its 
rations as the next best thing. He did not 
know what people meant by liberty of the 
bourgeoisie, or even the proletariat. Of 
course he could neither read nor write ; in 
short, he was a typical Russian peasant, 
ignorant, docile, and kindly, driven by 
economic stress to unskilled labour in the 

He went slowly up a farther flight of 
stairs, came to a closed door, and paused, 
hesitating. At length he pushed it open 
and, raising his lantern, entered. There was 
a table in the middle of the room ; he set the 
light and his rifle upon it and looked round. 

A desk wilQrj^jrtyjpowriler, three or four 


Perceval Gibbon 


full bookshelves, the escutcheon of a Cam- 
bridge college, a few small athletic cups, 
big leather arm-chairs, photographs — he had 
wandered into what was still David Baines's 
4en. Half its contents had no meaning for 
Pavel ; he wandered from one to the other 
uncomprehending. A big photograph in a 
silver frame he thought he recognized as a 
picture of the younger lady downstairs ; it 
was at least an intelligible object, and he 
turned to the other photograph with a faint 
curiosity. And a moment later he saw it. 

A tarnished gold frame with a wide 
mounting surrounding a dim face that 
smiled with a half-seriousness forth at him. 
He had to take the lantern in hand to make 
it out plainly, and his first full apprehension 
of it made him catch his breath. That 
perfect beauty, with its purity and appeal — 
he recognized it ! He spoke aloud. 

" An ikon ! " he breathed. I4 A saint ! " 

He put down the lantern, and, bowing him- 
self as he had been taught in his cliildhood, 
he went through the complicated motions by 
which an orthodox Russian crosses himself. 

Thrice he did this. Then, glancing behind 
him to see that none observed, he lifted the 
portrait of Flossie Floyd from the wall and 
tucked it beneath his cloth coat, well up 
under his armpit. He found that in that 
manner he could carry it fairly inconspicu- 
ously. He helped himself to nothing else. 

He was last of the party to descend when 
they took the prisoners away ; but he was 
not needed in the struggle to drag them 
forth when the sergeant made good his word 
and Mrs. Baines saw her husband. 

KOMISSAR BAKANOV'S stolen palace 
in the Millionnaya had a sweep of 
marble stairs to the grand salons up 
which the twelve men might march abreast ; 
its state apartments were a vista of great 
rooms running the length of its front, 
panelled between gold pilasters with tapes- 
tries ; it had housed a Prince whose blood 
was yet caked upon the floor of the cellar 
where they had done him to death. And 
the general atmosphere of it now was that 
of a mausoleum. It was splendid and 
gruesome on a gigantic scale. Yet it sank to 
the insignificance of a background by con- 
trast with its tenant, Baranov. 

They dragged the almost unconscious 
women to the room in which he was accus- 
tomed to work, a great chamber fitted with 
high bookshelves, and paused outside the 

« " Order, now ! " counselled the sergeant, 
and the men fidpoted and shuffled. The 
sergeant knocked. " Iti suda ! " summoned 
a clear voice from within. The sergeant 
opened the door and the prisoners and their 
escort passed into the presence. 


The terrible Komissar looked up from the 
documents spread before him upon the desk 
at which he sat with his secretary. His eye 
rested on the four women, the two un- 
mistakably mistresses, the other two as 
unmistakably servants, and travelled thence 
over the faces of the men. At that daunting 
scrutiny there was more fidgeting. 

" Well ? " demanded Baranov. 

The ex-sergeant all but came to attention, 
but recovered himself in time. 

" We carried out orders, comrade," he 
began, and went on to recite the events of the 
evening, while Baranov sat listening immov- 
ably, and the men stared one and all at him. 

He was a tallish man, something over 
forty years of age, black-haired and clean 
shaven. His features were of a characterless 
regularity, the eyes cold, the mouth com- 
monly rigid. It was not in his outward 
appearance that his quality was expressed. 
Rather it was a matter of demeanour ; his 
attitude, his slightest gestures, his tones, 
even his occasional smiles, were charged, as 
the electric current charges an accumulator, 
with that Thing within the man which had 
made him what he was. One had only to 
watch him to understand and believe the 
stories that made him notorious. He had 
had his phase of Nihilism, of anarchism ; he 
had served in the French Foreign Legion 
and successfully deserted ; he had been in 
prison in England and a German spy during 
the war. Since the outbreak of the revolu- 
tion he had been more Bolshevik than the 
Bolsheviks ; his influence with the Petrograd 
Soviet was paramount ; and his rule had 
been a grisly horror. None, save his victims 
and his slaughterers, knew when or where 
or why he killed. 

At the end of the sergeant's recital he 

" Good ! '* he said. ' Lock them up for 
the night. They shall be interrogated in 
the morning." 

He turned to his papers again, calmly, as 
a man resumes work after a trivial telephone 
call. It was a gesture entirely in his own 
manner. His fat little bearded secretary 
glanced at him curiously and then at the 
women. He knew what that indifference, 
that unstudied nonchalance, meant. Living 
folk mattered to Baranov ; to them he gave 
his attention ; but the dead were done with. 

Presently Pavel was able to be alone. The 
private army of Baranov, when not on duty, 
dwelt in the top-floor of the palace, a great 
attic-loft honeycombed with little rooms. 
One of these, with a straw mattress, a bucket 
for his ablutions, and a packing-case table, 
Pavel had to himself. As a member of the 
garrison he drew a ration of candles. He 
made a light, closed the door, and drew 
forth his JorJ€]ir 



Saint Flossie 

He placed it on the packing-case, 
leaning against the wall, with the 
candle-flame shining upon it. For 
convenience of close inspection he 
knelt before the table and pored upon 
the picture. He wanted not only to 
confirm but to renew his im- 
pression of it. ■ In his child- - 
hood he had liked the saints 
he knew— those in the churcl 
of his village, gorgeously em 
balmed in pinchbeck 
and sham jewels. 
Religion had been 
the one mystery of 
his life ; and of late, 
without it, life had 
been a little barren 
and obvious. But 
here, at last, was a 
saint n gain, clad in 
lo veil n ess i ns t ead of 
glass diamonds for a 
heavenly glory. He 
remained staring. 

And present! y, a til I 
kneeling he crossed 
himself thrice, A 
moment or two later, 
his eyes fixed on the 
pictured face before 
him, he recited that 
prayer which begins 
'" O little mother of 
great mercy." 

And allowing for 
the difference in lon- 
git ude between Pavel "s private 
chapel in Petrograd and 
Flossie's London pub T it was 
at that moment that Miss 
Floyd, having donned her 
gloves and found her hand- 
bag, bade her friend the bar- 
maid an affectionate good 
n ight , s wept a de vas tatih g 
smile over the company, and 
walked to the door with a 
gait even a little mure pro- 
nounced than she intended. 
And as she pulled the door open she hiccup* d 

Three Hours l*elow the garret in which the 
boy knelt before the old photograph, 
Baranov sat suddenly back in his chair and 
gazed, as if upon a sudden thought, ;ii his 
secretary. The little fat man became 
anxiously alert, 

' Yes/' he said, nervously. He knew 
enough of Baranov to fear his inspirations, 
but not enough to guess them. He was 
himself the mildest man that ever made out 
an order for a throat to be cut. 

14 Give me Lenin's letter again," directed 

the Koniissar. There was silence 

* There was a curious air 

of indecision as his eyes 

rested on the prisoner a." 

while as he ran lliroiigh its many pages. 
Then he laid it down. 

' The position is this/' said Baranov, 
slowly, while the secretary craned over the 
desk in eagerness to hear. ,H Litvinoft 
reports that opinion in England, even prole- 
tariat opinion is adversely affected by our 
treatment of the Vjonr^eois and may be 
fatally affected by our treatment of British 
subjects. Lentn trusts Litvinofi, and urges 
his views on me — urges them peremptorily, 
even. You see ? ,N 


Ferceval Gibbon 


Baranov con- 
sidered him. 'The Englishman 
Baines is dead. That is true. But it 
is better that he should not be dead. He 
escaped : we know no more, That is our 
story. Do you understand ? " 

" No P M replied the secretary, frankly, " I 
don't* The women will tell a different story 
and " 

He fell silent as itoranov shook his head. 

" The women escaped with him," said the 
Komissar. " By the same road ! " 

His thill eves had a flicker of mere amuse- 

ment as he viewed the little man's face of 

*' Send me that sergeant -fellow I " he 

The secretary hesitated ; but it w*as im- 
possible for him to disoliey Baranov. Shud- 
dering, he went upon liis 1 naud. Baranov. 
leaning back in his chair, the tips of his 
finders jojned, waited in deep thought. 

He lotGi^lGpl&DtTle big sergeant entered 



Saint Flossie 

and marched towards the desk, and his eyes 
flickered past him to where the secretary 
hovered in the offing. 

He began to speak so suddenly that both 
his hearers started. 

" It was you who executed the Prince 
downstairs, was it not ? " 

" Yes, comrade — me and another com- 
rade — we ' ' 

The sergeant was going on to give details. 
There was eagerness in his ' 3at gross face ; 
but Baranov stopped him. 

" There is another execution for you 
to-night," he said, in level tones. "You 
will need three other comrades this time, 
men who can hold their tongues. And it is 
to be a quiet affair— ho shooting ! " 

" I see/ 1 replied the sergeant. "In that 
case, the bayonet, eh ? " 

They might have been— in fact they were 
— discussing the ways and means for an 
everyday transaction. 

Baranov shrugged. " That is your affair. 
Who are the three men you will take with 
you ? They must be silent fellows, you 
understand ! " 

The sergeant nodded thoughtfully. " Well, 
the two Chinamen/ ' he suggested. ' ' They're 
all right. And for the other one — what about 
the youngster ? Quiet fellow — hardly ever 
opens his mouth ! " 

Baranov considered. " All right," he said. 
" Go and bring them here — with their weapons 
— and I'll give you your orders/' 

The secretary walked hastily aside to give 
the man passage ; Baranov, watching, smiled 
faintly. There was a while of silence in the 
great room, till it was broken by the sergeant's 
returning feet. He entered alone. 

" Well ? " Baranov demanded. 4 Where 
are the others ? " 

The secretary crept nearer to hear the 
reply, for the sergeant spoke in the low voice 
of confidence. 

" It's about that young fellow Pavel, 
comrade," he said. '* I thought I ought 
to tell you about that before I take him 
with us. What do vou think I found him 
doing ? " 

" How should I know ? What was he 
doing ? " 

The sergeant wagged his head humorously. 

" I went up quietly, so as not to rouse the 
others, seeing it's to be a silent affair, and 
just pushed his door open. And may I 
never eat bread again if there he wasn't 
down on his knees on the floor, with a 
candle alight and all, praying before an 
ikon ! " 

The sergeant got his hoped-for effect, for 
the Komissar sat up sharply. He frowned. 

" An ikon ! Here — in this house ? I 
thought I'd ordered them all to be thrown 
out. Where did he find it ? " 

by L^OOgle 

" I think, comrade, he must have got it 
in that house in the Galernaya." 

" The fool ! Well, go and fetch it here — 
and him with it," ordered the Komissar. 
" This kind of thing is dangerous. I'll talk 
to him myself ! " 

He was really perturbed. He was a 
fanatic enemy of religion, and believed — 
probably with justice — that it was the most 
redoubtable force arrayed against Bolshevism. 
He rose from his chair and began to pace the 

" It is a symptom ! " he declaimed, in his 
frigid voice that yet could warm to oratorical 
ardours. "A symptom of the old corruption 
that yet lives in us. Shall we have to breed 
a new generation which has .never known 
slavery of the mind or the bgdy l>efore we 
can claim a victory for the Revolution ? 
Sometimes I almost fear it I " 

" He is only a boy, comrade," ventured the 
secretary. " If you talk to him " 

" I will talk to him," said Baranov, darkly. 

THE sergeant marched in a scared Pavel, 
rifle on shoulder, cap on head, himself 
carrying the ikon at his heels, in the 
most approved military manner. 

" Halt ! " he barked, and Pavel halted, 
his eyes fixed on the dreaded countenance 
of the Komissar. " Present arms ! " But 
Pavel knew nothing of that. " Here is the 
ikon, comrade." 

Baranov reached out a hand for it, glanced 
from it to Pavel, then back to it again. He 
seemed for an instant bewildered ; he stared 
at it incredulously ; then suddenly he laughed 

" So this is your ikon, eh ? You brought 
it from the Galernaya and you have been 
praying before it ? " 

There was a gaiety in his manner which 
none of them had seen then* before. Pavel 

" Yes, Excellency," he stammered. 

Again Baranov laughed. He turned the 
frame over, opened the back, and drew out 
the photograph of Flossie Floyd. 

" Now see," he said to Pavel, " where your 
silly superstition has led you ! You have 
lx*en kneeling to this, crossing yourself and 
praying lx?forc this ! Vou fool ! This is no 
saint ! " 

Pavel uttered no word, but his blunt blond 
face hardened. 

" These things come from England, the 
stronghold of capitalism. I remember when 
they sold them there in the streets and 
young fools bought them. But you are 
surely the first to pray before the thing ! " 

He shook his head at Pavel not unkindly. 

" It is my saint/' said Pavel. "Give it 
back to me ! " He was trembling as he 

Original from 


Perceval Gibbon 


He knelt before the table, poied upon the picture, and crossed himself thrice* * 

" Saint I "exploded Baranov. " I tell you, 
foul, this is a wanton, a dancing-girl, any 
rich man's girl " 

Pavel moved a step, *' Stop ! jJ he said. 

' H Just a costly vice, a money-sink, a rot 
in the body of the community," continued 
Baranov, " But since you are set on having 
the thing — here you are ! dl 

With a quick motion lie tore the card 
across, and made to toss the halves touards 

But he did not get so far, for at thitt 
moment Pavel shot him through the body. 

IT was four months before the Baines ladus 
were released. They never knew Pavel, 
of course; noUidy ever will again. But 
it is a pity that Miss Floyd, at least, 
nightly visiting the hushed shrine of her 
choice, cannot know how for an hour she 
reigned in ftrtl]irV9rfr<Jftft c h '? 11 over *' ie 




comes to- I 





Tl \ K bknv fell at precisely one forty- 
five jsummer time). Spenser, my 
Aunt Agatha's butler, was ottering 
me the fried potatoes at the moment, 
and such was my emotion that I lofted six 
of them on to the sideboard with the spoon. 
Shaken to the core, if you know what I 

t ve told you how I got engaged to Honoria 
Glossop in my efforts to do young Bingo 
Little a good turn. Well, on this particular 
morning she had lugged me round to Aunt 
Agatha's for lunch, and 1 was just saying 
" Death, where is thy jolly old sting ? " when 
I realized that the worst was yet to come. 

11 Bertie/" she said, suddenly, as if she 
had just remembered it, " what is the name 
of that man of yours — your valet ? 

+1 Elf? Oh, Jeeves." 

* I think he's a l>ad influence for yon," 
said Monona. ..When we are married you 
must get rid of Jeeves/' 

It was at this point that I jerked the spoon 
and sent &\x of the best and crisjx v st sailing 
on to the sideboard, with Spenser gambling 
after them like a dignified old retriever. 

" Get rid of Jeeves ! " 1 gasped. 
/: Yes. I don't like Mm." 

"' / don't like him/ said Aunt Agatha. 

But I can't. 1 mean— why, I couldn't 
carry on for a day without Jeeves." 

" You will have to/ 1 said Honoria, 
don't Hke him at all. 



* m I don't like him at all/' said Aunt 
Agatha. " 1 never did," 

Ghastly, what ? I'd always had an idea 
that marriage was a bit of a wash-out, but 
I'd never dreamed that it demanded such 
frightful sacrifices from a fellow, I passed 
the rest of the meal in a sort of stupor. 

The scheme had been, if 1 remember, that 
after lunch I should go off and caddy for 
Honoria on a shopping tour down Regent 
Street ; but when she got up and started 
collecting me and the rest of Iter things, Aunt 
Agatha stopped her, 

You run along, dear/' she said, " I 
want to say a few words to Bertie." 

So Honoria legged it, and Aunt Agatha 
drew up her chair and started in. 

1 Bertie/' she said, 4 " dear Honoria does 
not know it, but a little difficulty has arisen 
about your marriage," 

'By Jove ! not really ? " I said, hope 
starting to dawn. 

" Oh, it's nothing at all, of course. It is 
only a little exasperating, The fact is, Sir 
Roderick is being rather troublesome." 

Thinks I'm not a good bet ? Wants to 
scratch the fixture ? Well, perhaps he's 

' p Fray do not be so absurd, Bertie. It is 
nothing so serious as that. But the nature 
of Sir Roderick's profession unfortunately 
makes him — over-cautious/' 

1 didn't'^Hgiflalfrom 

p.g. tffflVtiBITY OF MICHIGAN 

P< G. Wodehouse 


" Over-cautious ? " 

" Yes. I suppose it is inevitable* A 
nerve specialist ^vith his extensive practice 
can hardly help taking a rather warped view 
of humanity/' 

I got what she was driving at row. Sir 
Roderic k 

Glossop,Hoi - 
oria's father, 
is always 
called a nerve 
because it 
sounds bet- 
ter, but 
knows that 
he's really a 
sort of janitor 
to the looney- 
bin, I mean 
to say, when 
your unci e 
the Duke 
begins to feel 
the strain a 
bit and you 
tind him in 
the b 1 u e 
rooni sticking 
straws in his 
hair f old Glos- 
sop is the 
first person 


you send for. He toddles round, gives the 
patient the once-over, talks about -over- 
excited nervous systems, and recommends 
complete rest and seclusion and all that sort 
of thing. Practically every posh family in 
the country has called him in at one time 
or another, and I suppose that, being in 
that position— I mean constantly bating to 
sit on peoples heads while their nearest 
and dearest 'phone to the asylum to sent! 
round the wagon — does tend to make a 
chappie take what you might call a warped 
view of hu inanity, 

" You mean he thinks I may be a 
loonej-, and he doesn't want a looney son- 
in-law ? " I said. 

Aunt Agatha seemed rather peeved than 
otherwise at my ready intelligence, 

11 Of course, he does not tliink anything 
so ridiculous. I told you he was simply 
exceedingly cautious. He wants to satisfy 
himself that you are perfectly normal/' 
Here she paused, for Spenser had come in 
with the coffee, When he had gone, she 
went on : H He appears to have got hold 
of some extraordinary story atwiit your 
having pushed his son Oswald into the 
lake at Ditteredge Hall, Incredible, ot 
course. Even you would hardlv do a 
thing like that/ 1 

" Wei!, f did sort of lean against him, 
you know, and he shot off the 
bridge.* 1 

"Oswald definitely accuses you 

of having pushed him, into the 

water. That has disturbed Sir 

, Roderick, and unfoctufiatelV it 

" It was at this point that I jerked the spoon ana 1 sent six of the best and crispest 

sailing on to the sideboards* ■ . , , 

.. (^v^lV ungmalfrom 


Vol. Is 




Sir Roderick Comes To Lunch 

has caused him to make inquiries, and lie has 
heard about your poor Uncle Henry." 

She eyed me with a good deal of solemnity, 
and I took a grave sip of coffee. We were 
peeping into the family cupboard and having 
a look at the good old skeleton. My late 
Uncle Henry, you see, was by way of being 
the blot on the Woostcr escutcheon. An 
extremely decent chappie personally, and one 
who had always endeared himself to me by- 
tipping me with considerable lavishness when 
I was at school ; but there's no doubt he 
did at times do rather rummy things, notably 
keeping eleven pet rabbits in his bedroom ; 
and I suppose a purist might have considered 
him more or less off his onion. In fact, to 
be perfectly frank, he wound up his career, 
happy to the last and completely surrounded 
by rabbits, in some sort of a home. 

" It is very absurd, of course/' continued 
Aunt Agatha. " If any of the family had 
inherited poor Henry's eccentricity — and it 
was nothing more — it would have been 
Claude and Eustace, and there could not be 
two brighter boys." 

Claude and Eustace were twins, and had 
been kids at school with me in my last 
summer term. Casting my mind back, it 
seemed to me that " bright " just about 
described them. The whole of that term, as I 
remembered it, had been spent in getting 
them out of a series of frightful rows. 

" Look how well they are doing at Oxford. 
Your Aunt Emily had a letter from Claude 
only the other day saying that they hoped 
to be elected shortly to a very important 
college club, called The Seekers." 

" Seekers ? " I couldn't recall any club 
of the name in my time at Oxford. " What 
do they seek ? " 

" Claude did not say. Truth or Know- 
ledge, I should imagine. It is evidently a 
very desirable club to belong to, for Claude 
added that Lord Rainsby, the Earl of 
Datchet's son, was one oi his fellow-candi- 
dates. However, we are wandering from 
the point, which is that Sir Roderick wants 
to have a quiet talk with you quite alone. 
Now I rely on you, Bertie, to be — I won't 
say intelligent, but at least sensible. Don't 
giggle nervously : try to keep that horrible 
glassy expression out of your eyes : don't 
yawn or fidget : and remember that Sir 
Roderick is the president of the West London 
branch of the anti-gambling league, so please 
do not talk about horse-racing. He will 
lunch with you at your flat to-morrow at 
one-thirty. Please remember that he drinks 
no wine, strongly disapproves of smoking, 
and can only eat the simplest food, owing to 
an impaired digestion. Do not offer him 
coffee, for he considers it the root of half the 
nerve-trouble in the world." 

" I should think a dog-biscuit and a 

glass of water would about meet the case, 
what ? " 

" Bertie ! " 

" Oh, all right. Merely persiflage." 

" Now it is precisely that sort of idiotic 
remark that would be calculated to arouse 
Sir Roderick's worst suspicions. Do please 
try to refrain from any misguided flippancy 
when you are with him. He is a very 
serious-minded man. . . Are you going ? 
Well, please remember all I have said. I 
rely on you, and, if anything goes wrong, 
I shall never forgive vou." 

" Right ho ! " I said. 

And so home, with a jolly day to look 
forward to. 

I BREAKFASTED pretty late next morning 
and went for a stroll afterwards. 1 1 seemed 
to me that anything I could do to clear the 
old lemon ought to be (lone, and a bit of 
fresh air generally relieves that rather foggy 
feeling that comes over a fellow early in the 
day. I had taken a stroll in the Park, and 
got back as far as Hyde Park Corner, when 
some blighter sloshed me between the 
shoulder-blades. It was young Eustace, 
my cousin. He was arm-in-arm with two 
other fellows, the one on the outside being 
my cousin Claude and the one in the middle 
a pink-faced chappie with light hair and an 
apologetic sort of look. 

" Bertie, old egg ! " said young Eustace, 

" Hallo ! " I said, not frightfully chirpily. 

" Fancy running into you, the one man in 
London who can support us in the style we 
are accustomed to! By s the way, you've 
never met old Dog-Face, have you ? Dog- 
Face, this is my cousin Bertie. Lord Rainsby 
— Mr. Woostcr. We've just been round to 
your flat, Bertie. Bitterly disappointed that 
you were out. but were hospitably enter- 
tained by old Jeeves. That man's a corker, 
Bertie. Stick to him." 

" What are you doing in London ? " I 

" Oh, buzzing round. We're just up for 
the day. Flying visit, strictly unofficial. 
We oil back on the three-ten. And now, 
touching that lunch you very decently 
volunteered to stand us, which shall it be ? 
Ritz ? Savoy ? Carlton ? Or, if you're a 
member of Ciro's or the Embassy, that would 
do just as well." 

" I can't give you lunch. I've got an 
engagement myself. And, by Jove," I said, 
talcing a look at my watch, "I'm late." I 
hailed a taxi. " Sorry." 

" As man to man, then," said Eustace, 
" lend us a fiver." 

I hadn't time to stop and argue. I un- 
belted the Jiver and hopped into the cab. 
It was twentv to two when I got to the flat. 


P, G. Wodehouse 


I bounded into the sitting-room, but it was 

Jeeves shimmied in. 

" Sir Roderick has not yet arrived, sir/' 
* Good egg I" 1 said. " I thought [ 
should find him smashing up the furniture,' h 
My experience is that the 
less you want a fellow, 
the more punctual he's 
hound to be, and I had 
had a vision of the old 
lad pacing the rug in my 

moment what an extraordinarily formidable 
old bird he was. He had a pair of shaggy 
eyebrows which gave his eyes a piercing look 
which was not at all the sort of thins: a fellow 
wanted to encounter on an empty stomach. 
He was fairly tall and fairly broad, and he 
had the most enormous head, with practically 
no hair on it, which made it seem bigger and 
much more like the dome of St* Paul's. I 
suppose he must have taken about a nine or 
something in hats. Shows what a rotten 
thing it is to let your brain develop too much. 

As I was putting it on 1 got a sort of impression that it was a trifle roomy/ 

-itting-room, saying " He comelh not ! " and 
generally hotting up, "Is everything in 
order ? " 

I fancy you will find the arrangements 
<]uite satisfactory, sir " 

H What are you giving us ? " 

ri Cold consomme, a cutlet, and a savoury, 
sir. With lemon -squash, iced." 

M Well, 1 don't see how that can hurt hun. 
Don't go getting carried away by the excite- 
ment of the thing and start bringing in 

M No, sir." 

" And don't let your eyes get glassy, 
because, if you do, you're apt to find yourself 
in a padded cell before you know where you 
are/ 1 

11 Very good, sir." 

There was $* ring at the bell, 

' Stand by, Jeeves," I said. " We're off !" 

I HAD met Sir Roderick Glossop before, of 
course, but only when I was with Honoria: 
and there is something about Honoria 
which makes almost anybody you meet in the 
same room seem sort of under-sized anil trivial 
by comparison, had never realized till this 

"What ho f What ho! What ho!" I 
said, trying to strike the genial note, and then 
had a sudden feeling that that was just the 
sort of thing I had been warned not to say. 
Dashed difficult it is to start things going 
properly 011 an occasion like this. A fellow 
living in a London flat is so handicapped. I 
mean to say, if I had been the young squire 
greeting the visitor in the country, 1 could 
have said " Welcome to Meadowsweet Hal! !" 
or something zippy hke that, It sounds 
silly to say " Welcome to Number 6a, 
Crichton Mansions, Berkeley Street, W." 

" I am afraid I am a little late." he said, as 
we sat down, " I was detained at my club 
by Lord Alastair Hmigerford, the Duke of 
Ram furl in e's son. His Grace, he informed 
me, had exhibited a renewal of the symptoms 
which have been causing the family sso much 
concern. I could not leave him immediately. 
Hence my unpunctuality, which i trust has 
not discommoded yon/ 

" Oh, not at all. So the Duke is off his 
rocker, what ? " 

' The expression which you use is not 
precisely the. one I should have employed 
im self witJv-feSelreMeSW'the head of perhaps 



Sir Roderick Comes To Lunch 

the noblest family in England, but there is 
no doubt that cerebral excitement does, as 
you suggest, exist in no small degree." He 
sighed as well as he could with his mouth 
full of cutlet. " A profession like mine is a 
great strain, a great strain/' 

4 Must be." 

" Sometimes I am appalled at what I see 
around me." He stopped suddenly and sort of 
stiffened . ' 4 Do you keep a cat, Mr. Wooster ? ' ' 

41 Eh ? What ? Cat ? No, no cat " 

" I was conscious of a distinct impression 
that I had heard a cat mewing either in the 
room or very near to where we are sitting." 

" Probably a taxi or something in the 

" I fear I do not follow you." 
' I mean to say, taxis squawk, you know. 
Rather like cats in a sort of way." 

" I had not observed the resemblance," 
he said, rather coldly. 

" Have some lemon -squash," I said. The 
conversation seemed to be getting rather 

41 Thank you. Half a glassful, if I may." 
The hell-brew appeared to buck him up, for 
he resuiped in a slightly more pally manner. 
" I have a particular dislike for cats. But 

I was saying Oh, yes. Sometimes I 

am positively appalled at what I see around 
me. It is not only the cases which come 
under my professional notice, painful as 
many of those are. It is what I see as I go 
about London. Sometimes it seems to me 
that the whole world is mentally unbalanced. 
Tliis very morning, for example, a most 
singular and distressing occurrence took place 
as I was driving from my house to the club. 
The day being clement, I had instructed my 
chauffeur to open my landaulette, and I was 
leaning back, deriving no little pleasure from 
the sunshine, when our progress was arrested 
in the middle of the thoroughfare by one of 
those blocks in the traffic which are inevitable 
in so congested a system as that of London." 

I suppose I had l>een letting my mind 
wander a bit, for when he stopped and took 
a sip of lemon-squash I had a feeling that I 
was listening to a lecture and was expected 
to say something. 

44 Hear, hear ! " I said. 

44 I beg your pardon ? " 

44 Nothing, nothing. You were saying " 

44 The vehicles proceeding in the opposite 
direction had also been temporarily arrested, 
but after a moment they were permitted to 
proceed. I had fallen into a meditation, 
when suddenly the most extraordinary thing 
took place. My hat was snatched abruptly 
from my head ! And as I looked back I 
perceived it being waved in a kind of feverish 
triumph from the interior of a taxi-cab. which, 
even as I looked, disappeared through a gap 
in the traffic and was lost to sight." 

I didn't laugh, but 1 distinctly heard a 
couple of my floating ribs part from their 
moorings under the strain. 

" Must have been meant for a practical 
joke," I said. " What ? " 

This suggestion didn't seem to please the 
old boy. 

" I trust." he said, " I am not deficient 
in an appreciation of the humorous, but I 
confess that I am at a loss to detect anything 
akin to pleasantry in the outrage. The 
action was beyond all question that of a 
mentally unbalanced subject. These mental 
lesions may express themselves in almost any 
form. The Duke of Ramfurline, to whom I 
had occasion to allude just now, is under the 
impression — this is in the strictest confidence 
— that he is a canary ; and his seizure to-day, 
which so perturbed Ix)rd Alastair, was due 
to the fact that a careless footman had 
neglected to bring him his morning lump of 
sugar. Cases are common, again, of men 
waylaying women and cutting off portions 
of their hair. It is from a branch, of this 
latter form of "mania that I should be dis- 
posed to imagine that my assailant was 
suffering. I can only trust that he will be 

placed under proper control before he 

Mr. Wooster, thefe is a cat close at hand ! 
It is not in the street ! The mewing appears 
to come from the adjoining room." 

THIS time I had to admit there was no 
doubt about it. There was a distinct 
sound of mewing coming from the next 
room. I punched the bell for Jeeves, who 
drifted in and stood waiting with an air of 
respectful devotion. 

■• Sir ? " 

" Oh, Jeeves," I said. " Cats ! What 
about it ? Are there any cats in the flat ? ' 

" Onlv the three in vour bedroom, sir." 


" Cats in his bedroom ! " I heard Sir 
Roderick whisper in a kind of stricken way, 
and his eyes hit me amidships like a couple 
of bullets. 

•* What do you mean," I said, " only the 
three in my bedroom ? " 

" The black one, the tabby, and the small 
lemon -coloured animal, sir." 

4 ' What on earth ? " 

I charged round the table in the direction 
of the door. Unfortunately, Sir Roderick 
had just decided to edge in that direction 
himself, with the result that we collided in 
the doorway with a good deal of force, and 
staggered out into the hall together. He 
came smartly out of the clinch and grabbed 
an umbrella from the rack. 

44 Stand back ! " he shouted, waving it over 
his head. "Stand back, sir! I am armed!" 

It seemed to me that the moment had come 
to be soothittgin 


P. G, Wodehouse 


M Awfully sorry 1 barged into you/' I said. 
" Wouldn't have had it happen for worlds. 
I was just dashing out to have a look into 

He appeared a trifle reassured, and lowered 
the umbrella- But just then the most 
frightful shindy started in the bedroom. It 
sounded as though all the cats in London, 
insisted by delegates from 
outlying suburbs, had £ot 
together to settle their 
differences once for alh 
A sort of augmented or- 
chestra of cats. 

" This noise is unen- 
durable/' yelled Sir 
Roderick. + * I cannot 
hear myself speak/' 

iH I fancy, sir/' said 
Jeeves, respect- 
fully, "that 
a 11 i m a I s 
may have 
h e c o m € 
as the result 
of having 
the fish 
\inder Mr, 

The old 
b o y tot- 

Did 1 hear 
von rightly : 

" Did you say that there 
was a fbrfi under Mr. Wooster's 
bed ? " 

"Yes, sir/' 

Sir Roderick gave a low 
moan, and reached for his hat 
ami stick. 

" You aren't going 

" Mr. Wooster, I am going ! 
I prefer to spend my leisure 
time in less eccentric society/ 1 
4 But I say. Here, 1 must 
come with you. I'm sure the 
whole business can Ik 1 ex- 
plained. Jeeves, my hat/' 

Jeeves rallied round. 1 took 
the hat from him and shoved 
it on my head. 

" Good heavens ! " 

Beastly shock it was ! The 
bally thing had absolutely 
engulfed me, if you know 
what I mean. Even as I was 

putting it on I got a sort of impression that 
it was a trifle roomy ; and no sooner had I 
let go of it than it settled down over my ears 
like a kind of extinguisher, 
" I say ! This isn't my hat ! " 
"It is mv hat ! ,1 said Sir Roderick in 
about the coldest, nastiest voice I'd ever 
heard, *' The hat which was stolen from 
me this morning as I drove in my car." 

• But " 

I suppose Napoleon or somebody like that 
would have been equal to the situation, but 
I 'in bound to say it was too much for me. I 
just stood there goggling in a sort of coma, 
while the old boy lifted the hat off me and 
turned to Jeeves' 

" I should be glad s my man," he said, " if 
you would accompany me a few yards down 
Hit. street 1 wish to ask you some 

"' Very good, sir/ 1 

-l Here, but, I say ! " I began, 

but he left me standing. He stalked 
out, followed by Jeeves, And at that 
moment the row in the bedroom started 
again, louder than ever. 

I was about fed up with the whole 

thing, I mean, cats in your iKxlroom— 

a bit thick, what ? I didn't know how 

the dickens they had got in, but I was 

jolly well resolved that they weren't 

going to stay picknicking there any 

longer. I flung open the door, I got 

a momentary flash of alKmt a hundred 

and fifteen cats of all sixes 

and colours scrapping in the 

middle of the room, and then 

they all shot past me with a 

rush and out of the front door ; 

and all that was left of the 

mob-scene was the head of a 

whacking big fish, lying on 

the carpet and staring up at 

" 1 got a 

fifteen cats 

momentary flash of about 
they all shot patf me with 


Sir Roderick Comes To Lunch 

me in a rather austere sort of way, as if it 
wanted a written explanation and apology. 

There was something about the thing's 
expression that absolutely chilled me, and 
I withdrew on tip-toe and shut the door. 
And, as I did so, I bumped into someone. 

" Oh, sorry ! " he said. 

I spun round. It was the pink-faced 
chappie, Lord Something or other, the fellow 
I had met with Claude and Eustace. 

" I say," he said, apologetically, " awfully 
sorry to bother you, but those weren't my 
cats I met just now legging it downstairs, 
were they ? They looked like my cats/' 

" They came out of my bedroom." 

-i Then they were mv cats ! " he said, 
sadly. " Oh, dash it ! "* 

" Did you put cats in my bedroom ? " 

" Your man, what's his name, did. He 
rather decently said I could keep them there 
till my train went. I'd just come to fetch 
them. And now they've gone ! Oh, well, 
it can't be helped, I suppose. I'll take the 
hat and the fish, anyway." 

1 was beginning to dislike this chappie. 

'• Did you put that bally fish there, too ? " 

M No, that was Eustace's. The hat was 
Claude's." I sank limply into a chair. 

" I say, you couldn't explain this, could 
you ? " I said. The chappie gazed at me in 
mild surprise. 

" Why, don't you know all about it ? I 
say!" He blushed profusely. "Why, if 
you don't know about it, I shouldn't wonder 
if the whole thing didn't seem rummy to you." 

" Rummy is the word." 

" It was for The Seekers, vou know." 

" The Seekers ? " 

" Rather a blood club, you know, up at 
Oxford, which your cousins and I are rather 
keen on getting into. You have to pinch 
something, you know, to get elected. Some 
sort of a souvenir, you know. A policeman's 
helmet, you know, or a door-knocker or 
something, you know. The room's decorated 
with the things at the annual dinner, and 
everybody makes speeches and all that 
sort of thing. Rather jolly ! Well, we 
wanted rather to make a sort of special effort 
and do the thing in style, if you understand, 
so we came up to London to see if we couldn't 
pick up something here that would be a bit 
out of the ordinary. And we had the mo^t 
amazing luck right from the start. Your 
cousin Claude managed to collect a quite 
decent top-hat out of a passing; car, and 
your cousin Eustace got away with a really 
goodish salmon or something from Harrods, 
and I snaffled three excellent cats all in the 
first hour. We were fearfully braced, I can 
tell you. And then the difficulty was to 
know where to park the things till our train 
went. You look so beastly conspicuous, 
you know, tooling about London with a fish 

and a lot of cats. And then Eustace re- 
membered you, and we all came on here in a 
cab. You were out, but your man said it 
would be all right. When we met you, you 
were in such a hurry that we hadn't time to 
explain. Well, I think I'll be taking the hat, 
if you don't mind." 

" It's gone." 

" Gone ? " 

" The fellow you pinched it from happened 
to be the man who was lunching here. He 
took it away with him." 

" Oh, I say ! Poor old Claude will be 
upset. Well, how about the goodish salmon 
or something ? " 

" Would you care to view the remains ? " 
He seemed all broken up when he saw the 

" I doubt if the committee would accept 
that," he said, sadly. " There isn't a fright- 
ful lot of it left, what ? " 

" The cats ate the rest." 

He sighed deeply. 

" No cats, no fish, no hat. We've had all our 
trouble for nothing. I do call that hard ! And 
on top of that — I say, I hate to ask you, but you 
couldn't lend me a tenner, could you ? " 

" A tenner ? What for ? " 

" Well, the fact is, I've got to pop round 
and bail Claude and Eustace out. They've 
been arrested." 

" Arrested ! " 

" Yes. You see, what with the excitement 
of collaring the hat and the salmon or some- 
thing, added to the fact that we had rather 
a festive lunch, they got a bit above them- 
selves, poor chaps, and tried to pinch a 
motor-lorry. Silly, of course, because I don't 
see how they could have got the thing to 
Oxford and shown it to the committee. Still, 
there wasn't any reasoning with them, and, 
when the driver started making a fuss, there 
was a bit of a mix-up, and Claude and 
Eustace are more or less languishing in Vine 
Street police-station till I pop round and bail 
them out. So if you could manage a tenner 
— Oh, thanks, that's fearfully good of you. 
It would have been too bad to leave them 
there, what ? I mean, thev're both such 
frightfully good chaps, you know. Every- 
body likes them up at the 'Varsity. They're 
fearfully popular." 

" I bet they are ! " T said. 

WHEX Jeeves came back, I was waiting 
for him on the mat. I wanted speech 
with the blighter. 
"Well ? " I said. 

" Sir Roderick asked me a number of 
questions, sir, respecting your habits and 
mode of life, to which I replied guardedly." 

" I don't care about that. What I want 
to know is Avhv voiii. didn't explain the whole 
thing to him right at the start ? A word 

University of Michigan 

F, G. Wodehouse 


from vou would have put everything clear/' 

" Yes, sir/' 

'" Now he's gone off thinking me a looney." 

" 1 should not be surprised, from his 
conversation with me p sir, if some such idea, 
had not entered his head." 

1 was just starting in to speak, when the 
tt h 'phone -bell rang; Jeeves answered it t 

" No, madam, Mr, \Y coster is not in, No, 
madam, I do not know when he will return. 
No, madam, he left no message. Yes, madam, 
I will inform him/ 1 He put back the receiver. 
"' Mrs. Gregson, sir.*' 

Aunt Agatha ! I had been expecting it. 
Ever since the luncheon-party had blown 
nut a I use, her shadow had been hanging 
over me, so to speak. 

H Does she know ? Already ? M 

M I gather that Sir Roderick has been 
speaking 1o her on the telephone. sir, and " 

M No wedding bells for me, what ? * J 

Jeeves coughed. 


" Sir ? " 

■' I believe you had the jolly old situation 
in hand right from the start/' 

H We lip sir, Spenser, Mrs. Gregson 's butler, 
who inadvertently chanced to overhear some- 
thing of your conversation when you were 
bine lung at the house, did mention certain 
of the details to me ; and I confess that, 
though it may be a liberty to pay so, I 
entertained hopes that something might 
occur to prevent the match, I doubt if 
tlie vou ng 
lady was en- 
tirely suitable 
to you, sir/' 

"And she 
would have 
shot you out 
on yoiirear 
fi v e minutes 
after the cere- 
mony. 11 

'No ( madam/ said Jeeves, 'Mi. Wooster is not in. 

when he will return/* 

No, madam, 1 do not know 

" Mrs- Gregson did not actually confide 
in me, sir, but 1 fancy that rcuiic such tiling 
may have occurred. She seemed decidedly 
agitated, sir/' 

It's a rummy thing, but I J d been so 
snootered by the old boy and the cats and 
the fish and the hat and the pink-faced 
chappie and all the rest of it that the bright 
side simply hadn't occurred to me till now. 
By Jove, it was like a bally weight rolling 
oil my chest ! I gave a yelp of pure relief. 

"* Jeeves/' 1 said, " I believe you worked 
the whole thing I " 

(Next month: "Aunt Ag 

' Yes, sir, SpenseT informed me that she 
had expressed some such intention. Mrs. 
Gregson wishes you to call irpon her im- 
mediately, sir/' 

" She does, eh ? What do you advise. 
Jeeves ? *' 

** I think a trip to the south of France 
might prove enjoyable, sir/' 

" Jeeves/' I said, " vow are right, as always, 
Pack the old suit -case, and meet me at 
Victoria in time for the boat-train. 1 think 
that's the manly, independent course, what ?" 

" A I » ol u t el jr sip"4 v'-J ifp^ J ee vea * 

ha fiflMt^^HIGAN 





I HAVE never written to order in my 
fife or sold any work until it was well 
on the way to completion. Therefore 
I have enjoyed writing every book, 
whereas, if I had written under pressure 
with a feeling of compul- 
sion, I should never have 
regarded it as anything 
hut a task. Naturally* as 
! regard the psychic ques- 
tion as the most im|>ortant 
in the world, it is writing 
liooks on that subject 
which has given me most 
satisfaction, though the 
least productive from the 
financial point of view. 

I had great satisfaction, 
also, from my " British 
Campaign in Flanders/' 
because I had devised my 
own system of intelligence 
quite apart from (in fact, 
in opposition to) that of 
the War Office. I knew 
that my facts were true, 
and I knew that I had got 
them by my own wits, and 
that no one else had got 
them, and that was natur- 
ally a source of satisfac- 
tion. I have had little to change, save to fill 
up name*; and places which the Censor deleted. 
Of my novels, " The White Company gave 
me most pleasure. I was young and full of 
the first joy of life and action, and I think I 
got some of it into my pages. When I wrote 
the last line. I remember that I cried : " Well, 
1*11 never beat that/' and threw the inky pen 
at the opposite wall, which was papered 
with duck's-egg green I The black smudge 
was there for manv a da 


B> Google 

+l Rodney Stone M 1 enjoyed also ; for T 
always had* and have, a love of boxing and 
an admiration of the old fighting men, who 
were hum We heroes. 

Verse gives greater pleasure than prose, 
for it is a more compact, carefully-chiselled 
article. There, also t I have 
had occasional satisfaction 
and occasional disappoint- 


I think I enjoyed writing 
" Afterwards " more than 
any of my other hook^, 
though I can give no reason 
for the preference. Next 
corner " Courage" — in this 
case I enjoyed writing it 
because it recalled happy 
days spent in Italy, There 
was an odd coincidence 
Ixnind up with *' After- 
wards." I rather liked 
inventing a small girl 
called Cherry . Weeks 
later, while acting as sec- 
retary in a war-hospital, 
I recognized my own 
Cherry- to the life — in 
the matron's Final I 
daughter, also named Cherry. Everyone 
who read " Afterwards M congratulated me 
on my portrait of Matron's Cherry " — yet 
I never heard of her until the book had 
been published. Talking of names, the 
H hero " in " Afterwards " has no Christian 
name. I chose the surname Anstice from a 
war-list, but could not find a name to suit 
it, so Dr, Anstice never bad a Christian name 
at all. Only one reviewer remarked on the 
omission i Original from 


A Symposium of Well-known Novelists. 241 


You have asked me a question to which I 
find it more than difficult to return an answer 
satisfactorily. At the moment it seems to 
me that " Scaramouchc " is the book I most 
enjoyed writing. Rut I suspect that this is 
because " Scaramouche " is the last book 
that I have written, and distance has not 
yet lent it that disenchantment which my 
books procure me, The fact is that I am 
a thoroughly unnatural parent where my 
literary offspring are concerned. I take no 
sort of satisfaction or pride in any but the 
book I happen to be writing at the moment, 
That there is joy in accomplishment I know, 
because I have just experienced it. Rut in 
retrospect there is only despair, effacing 
the memory of that joy, and so rendering 
comparisons impossible. 1 like to think 
that the reason of this is that I have not yet 
exhausted my capacity to do better than I 
have done, and I tremble to think of the time 
when I may cease to blush for these children 
of my fancy. I view complacency in this, 
as in other matters of life, merely as the 
outward sign of intellectual stagnation, I 
sincerely trust that these particulars may 
meet the case. It may not be very satis- 
factory ; but it is sincere, . . . 

*>- - 


The book I most enjoyed writing was 
f The Hampden shire Wonder/' It was my 
second attempt at a novel — if it can be 
called a novel : there is not, for instance, the 
least shadow of a love story in it. ; My, first 
book had ^ been about pl for over two years. 
It was a long and 
intensely realistic life 
history, or the begin- 
ning of one t and " The 
H am pd en shi r e Won- 
der" was a pleasant 
escape into fantasy. 
I never had any diffi- 
culty with it. Ttrnight 
have been a better 
book, possibly, if I 
bad. All the time I was 
writing it I had the 
feeling of being sup- 
plied with abundant 
material and I seemed 
to have very little 
trouble in expressing 

it, Also t the story was a 'Mark," I felt a 
delightful irresponsibility in setting it down. 
One w^s not haunted by the fear of anachron- 
isms, since the thing was pitched slightly 
into the future. Rut altogether I thoroughly 
enjoyed doing it. It was a short book, only 
just over sixty thousand words, and I wrote 
it in three months — in the intervals of trying 
to earn a living. 

5 y VjOOQIc 


Just, why I never felt the same freedom and 
irresponsibility with other books 1 cannot 
say. It may be that I never hoped to get 
' The Hampdenshire Wonder " published. 
My first book had not been accepted when 
the second was begun, and I had had no 
experience of the terrors of professional 
criticism ! It is interesting to note that this 
book has had a smaller saJe than any other 
I have written, including even collections 
of sketches. I can only suppose the just 
inference to be that when I write to please 
my self , I please no one else, 


The writing of a book is not a lark to be 
enjoyed ; it is a job to be done. The question 
should be addressed to amateurs, not to 


The book which gave me the most 
pleasure to write was possibly the first I ever 
tried my band upon. It was called f *A 
Moorland Squire," or — in the language o£ 
mv familv, who chaffed me unmercifully — 
■' A Morland, Esq." 

This masterpiece has never seen the light. 
I came across some pages of it the other day, 
mi inn red in an old cupboard. 

Another Ixxik which I wrote off at full 
Speed and with extraordinary zest was 
,H ThaJassa ! " A curious fact with regard 
to this book was that, when it was done, I 
thought it so poor that I did not wish to 
publish it, I went to Sir George Hutchinson 
— as he has often since laughingly reminded 

me — and begged him 
not to send it to press, 
as I hnd come to the 
conclusion that it was 
loo bad fnr pnblica- 
t ion , He kn e w be tte r ; 
and the question he 
put to me shows, I 
think, his sjrrat acu- 
men : " How did you 
feel when you mre 
writing it ? Didn't it 
convince vou at the 
time ? ' I was con- 
strained to admit it. 
,H Then it will con- 
vince others/' he re- 
plied, confidently; and 
this hook has been my greatest success, as 
far as a wide public is concerned, having 
run into more than a hundred and fifty 
thousand copies. 

Next to this I would place, in order of 
pleasure in writing, " The Daughter Pays." 
This ljook I wrote in the dark and terrible 
winter jloi5 t i6. I had two boys at the 
front, ahtf' 9ARH* nHSBJEhd was desperately ill 


242 The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing 


that winter, A nurse was impossible to 
obtain, all of them being occupied with the 
wounded. I sometimes think that the writing 
of this novel was what kept me going through 
that difficult period, I 
loved the story, and 
wrote the whole of it 
in less than twelve 
weeks. Next to " Tha- 
lassa ! " it is, I think, 
the most popular of 
my novels, and is now 
having great success in 
the U.S.A. on the films. 
I remember one of 
my readers — and a very 
distinguished lady, too 
— writing to me to say 
that she forced herself 
to leave off reading it 
from time to time, in 
order not to finish it 
too soon ! That is the 
kind of tribute I most 
love t I would far rather 
have people say, " I 
could not put your 
book down " than have 
them say, *' Your book 
is very clever." And it 
is certain that the hooks 
my public have most enjoyed have been the 
books it was the greatest pleasure to write. 


thinks, on the whole, that " The Flying 

Inn " was the book 

that amused him most 

to write, though he got 

a good deal of pleasure 

out of two controversial 

ones — i.e., " Heretics " 

and " Orthodoxy." 


I cannot claim to 
have enjoyed writing 
any of my books ; they 
are associated with 
maddening interludes 
of physical pain. Even 
when all the circum- 
stances are favourable, 
1 write with such diffi- 
culty, straining and 
groaning over every 
word (unless I am writ- 
ing dialogue^ that "en- 
joy " cannot t>e used in 
connection with such 
torment. I iyr*>tc the 
second half of " Guy 
and Pauline " waiting 


for a telegram to fetch me to Gallipoli. 
I wrote " Sylvia Scarlett " waiting for a 
telegram to "send me to Tripoli, and with 
doctors continually arriving to hold inedicai 
boards over mv carcass. 
I wrote f * Poor Rela- 
tions " almost entirely 
in bed ; I wrote hall 
the second volume of 
" Sinister Street " work- 
ing eight or nine hours 
at a stretch all night 
through, because it was 
impossible to work by 
day, owing to the ex- 
citement of the early 
days of the War. I 
rather enjoyed writing 
the first two or three 
chapters of the first 
volume of " Sinister 
Street " because I was 
working in a diminu- 
tive room covered with 
a black and gold Chinese 
wallpaper and furnished 
with red lacquer ; but 
1 hat pleasure only lasted 
six weeks, when I had 
to go to America, and 
I could not WTite any 
mure of " Sinister Street " for seven months, 
which meant that the rest of the volume was 
finished against time, I might have enjoyed 
writing J ' Carnival " if, in the middle of it, 
I had not had to sell some of my best-loved 
t*>oks to pay the house- 
hold hills. *" The Vanity 
Girl M was written in a 
cloud of worries, and as 
far " Rich Relatives/' 
my publisher cannot 
read it, for it is asso- 
ciated in his mind with 
such difficulties in get* 
ting it finished by me 
and getting it produced 
by himself. I did enjoy 
writing the first four 
pages of " The Passion- 
ate Ktopemcnt," but I 
cannot have enjoved the 
remainder, for it took 
two years to finish. No ; 
the only pleasure I get 
from writing is an idea 
that I am going to enjoy 
writing a book planned 
for ten years hence. I 
even deny myself the 
pleasure of writing about 
some of my contem- 
poraries, which really 


' " -^ — r ^ r — ^^ put n,in.,^ h TT1J IV- 1 I I 

MR, COMPTON MACKENZIE. aiiijU be enjoyable 


A Symposium of Well-known- Novelists 


My memory for some forms of enjoyment 
is not very good. I am not asked which 
book added most to my troubles, or took 
the greatest toll of my hair, but : which — 
book— I— most — enjoyed — writing ! Well, 
let us say " Salthaven/* I can truthfully 
say thflt I enjoyed writing that as much as 
any of my stories. I seem to remember that 
it came easily— and lam not ungrateful. 


I do not think you will rind many authors 
who really enjoy the act of writing. I know 
only one who does, and 
he is a man in whom 
energy is superabund- 
ant. As a rule the 
author enjoys planning 
his book and thinking 
about it ; he loves to 
dwell in thought upon 
his characters, his ideas, 
his situations, but he 
postpones as late as he 
possibly can the hard 
labour of composition. 
I am afraid that the 
only novel that I have 
really enjoyed writing 
is the first one of ail — 
a book called " The 
Merr y H eart . * ' For 
other reasons, as a 

friend has just remarked, I enjoyed writing 
a critical study of the works of Robert Louis 
Stevenson, But apart 
from these books, 
there Ls none that I 
remember otherwise 
than as a triumph of 
determination over 
laziness and sloth. The 
rewards ot authorship 
are, of course, another 
matter ; nnri so are 
the joys of inventing 
and developing a bonk, 
These have nothing to 
do with your specific 


I dislike writing, and 
get little pleasure out 
of the actual work. 
The one exception is 
my last play- (l Will 
Shakespeare/' That I 
enjoyed working at 
because I loved the 
subject, but the actual 
work is always to me 

depressing and exhausting, 
is un romantic, but it's true. 

I am afraid this 


A .9*np*kit by J/r» L ,St JoMn Erviu^ 


The book of mine that 1 have most 
enjoyed writing was u The Green Mirror," 
my own favourite amongst my books. I 
enjoyed this most, 1 think, because 1 had a 
theme and a background to which I was 
sympathetic, and because I seemed to know 
the characters in that book better than in 

I think that the hook that a man most 
enjoys writing is gener- 
ally his first lxv>k, 
But 1 always enjoy 
writing unless, as some- 
times happens, I am 
writing to order, or am 
tired o£ my subject, 
There is also a special 
pleasure in setting up 
a difficulty and dealing 
with it, just as pa inters 
rather like to make 
difficulties for them- 
selves by blending lights 
of different kinds, and 
so on, For that reason 
I particularly enjoyed 
writing my last book, 
" Going Home/' That 
book was fantasy. It 
was written parallel to real life, but at a 
distance from it ; the deviation at the 
beginning of the book 
being in the direction 
of humour anil at the 
close of the book in 
the direction of poetry. 
The difficulty of get- 
ting as much as pos- 
sible into as few words 
as possible is also very 
attractive- but the 
importance of a work 
lx i uig now judged by 
its length, brevity is 
a virtue which has to 
lie its own reward* 


The book I most 
nijovcd writing wns 
my "first bonk, " The 
Tramping Methodist, " 
because it was not 
written with a view 
to publication, so I 
had no publishers or 
public to think of 


From thM Fai*ti*ff h ¥ Mr. S^t B. wWHW in ""%hllc I W3« writing. 



The Book I Most Enjoyed Writing 


In the ordinary w^y. the l*>ok an author 
enjovs writing most is his second. His first 
is written in labour and 
uncertainty. H e lia s n o 
idea whether it will 
ever be accepted by a 
publisher, or, if it is ac- 
cepted, whether it will 
ever be read. But when 
his first-born has been 
accepted, a wtf published, 
and has met with a 
sufficient measure of 
indulgence from the 
Critics and appreciation 
from the public, and 
the publisher has said ; 
' My dear fellow, you 
must let us have 
another novel in time 
for publication next 
a ut u inn/' then the 
whole face of the world 
is changed, All Nature 
seems smiling and gay. 
Blind alleys no longer 
exist. Our author sits 
down forthwith and 
plunges into work on 
his second novel with 
the exhilaration which comes from writing, 
for the first time, for certain publication. 
That is why I enjoyed 
writing ''The Right 
Stuff " more Ulan any 
other novel of mine. 

There are two other 
books whose memories 
1 shall always particu- 
larly cherish. One was 

The First Hundred 
Thousand/' the writing 
of which — it was scrib- 
bled mostly, in jieuoiL 
in a field despatch 
l>ook — afforded me real 
relief and distraction 
from the grim and 
pressing business of 
trench warfare. 

The other is ' The 
Willing Horse " — a pic- 
ture as faithful as I 
can make it. 1m? fore 
memory becomes 
blurred, of London 
during the War, ami 
the strange welter of 
heroism, frivolity, 
stoicism, hysteria, ex- 
travagance, privation, 
danger to life and in- 
difference to death 

through which the greatest city in the world 
shouldered its way — on the whole, with 
immense credit to itself — for more than four 
long years. 

Also, 'The Willing 
Horse" is a tribute to 
those men and women, 
young and old, who 
played the game 
throughout — w h o 
shouldered the burden 
without comment or 
condition as a mutter 
of course, jettisoning 
health, prospects, too 
often life itself, in order 
to be able to shoulder 
something more than 
their share. Many of 
these have not sur- 
vived : more lamentable 
still, the moulds which 
cast them appear for the 
moment to be broken. 
But their memory and 
example remain, 


half years 


ioogte ia/,-w " 


1 think the book I 
most enjoyed writing 
was my latest, not yet 
I began it about two and a 
ago in a flood of sunshine. I 
knew before I began it 
that 1 had a very good 
story- to tell, if only I 
could tell it. As the 
opemngchapters rippled 
along, I felt I was doing 
j ustice to my story. The 
idea was a curiously in- 
iriguing one, with un- 
limited opportunity for 
quaint scenes, delicate 
c h arac terization , and 
bri t tie dialogue. I 
finished the book about 
a year ago and it still 
lies on my desk, eighty 
thousand words strong, 
waiting for the days to 
come round again when 
publishing books is 
worth while, Perhaps it 
will never Ix? published, 
but I enjoyed writing it 
— an un usual experience, 
1 imagine, with one's 
thirty sixth book." 


I think every woman 
i a I iTOtST would agree that, 


A Symposium of Well-known Novelists 245 

in a sense, she had most enjoyed writing 
her first book. Indeed, I couJd go further 
and say that a woman's first novel is almost 
always her best. Even if defaced by certain 
serious faults- — more of omission than of 
commission — into her first bonk a writer lias 
poured a ^reat deal of accumulated thought 
and experience, full of a fresh, springlike 
finality, difficult — nay, almost impossible — to 

However, in spite of this preamble, the 
book 1 most enjoyed writing was a short 
novel entitled lt The Uttermost Farthing/' 
As is generally the case with all my stories, 
the central theme or 
plot rema i n ed hidden 
in my mind a great 
many years before I 
actually sat down to 
write the story. When 
Jiving in early girlhood 
in France E bad the 
good fortune to meet 
a distinguished official 
of the Paris Prefec- 
ture of Police, and, 
talking of t li<- si range, 
inexplicable things that 
happen in life, he men- 
tioned the disappear- 
ance of a Parisian lady 
who, leaving home, as 
her family thought, for 
the South of France, 
was finally discovered 
to have died in a train 
in Brittany — that is, 
hundreds of miles from 
the place to which she 
was supposed to have 
gone, MR, H. A. 

The teller of this rhltAj 

strange story did not 

offer any solution of the mystery. Rut the 
utterly mysterious occurrence lingered in 
my mind and gradually took shape in the 
form worked out by me in ,J The Uttermost 
Farthing/' I wrote the story very quickly, 
and though certain passages in it were re- 
written again and again, as i^ the rase with 
all my work, probably twenty-five thousand 
words out of the forty thousand words com- 
prising the novel remain as they were first 
put down. My experience has always been 
that a dramatic scene needs less re-writing 
than any other kind of imaginative w^ork. 
and ' The Uttermost Farthing " is, in a? 
sense, compact with drama. 

This little story was the first book of mine 
which was really well reviewed, both in 
England and America, It was translated 
into French and into German and ran as a 
short serial in a Paris, a Berlin, and a Vienna 
daily paper. It has also had a large sale in 
thc*Tauchnitz edition, and a blind American 
clergyman tried to make a play of it ! 


Your question is a ' corker/' Have 
you ever asked a fond mother, with a 
quiverful, which of her darlings she loves 
best ? Enjoyment includes ease of mind. 
Some books are Ijorn 
;iftcr great travail : 
others come easily and 
without pangs. Nobody 
can dogmatize about it. 
Alt the same, I cannot 
conceive certain authors 
getting enjoyment out 
of writing certain books 
where the theme is in- 
evitably painful, Har- 
land mti^t have enjoyed 
writing " The Cardinal 's 
Snuffbox/ 1 but I cannot 
envisage my old friend 
Morley Roberts chort- 
ling with qlee over 
" Hearts of Women." 

1 enjoyed writing 
" Blinkers " because it 
is a romance of the 
preconceived idea, and 
preeon cei ved i d eas— 
which seldom pan out 
in practice — ^irc very 
funny. 1 enjoyed hugely 
VACHELL. writing ' OtiinneyV 

Vmun*. both play and boot, 

because the theme 
am user I me. I have had to wrestle with 
other themes P dig into dull books of refer- 
ence, pu^sde out problems, and there is, of 
course, a solid satisfaction in doing this, if 

you do it well, but enjoyment 

It is [ikely that books which are a pleasure 
to write are also a pleasure to read. I have 
heard brother -scribes affirm that their best 
stuff liiis hem done an premier c^up r almost 
without effort. A young man sent a poem to 
an editor, entitled *' Why do I Live ? " The 
editor, when returning the poem, answered 
the question : "You live because you %ent your 
*" poeni to us instead of bringing it." But the 
poor fellow r may have enjoyed writing it ! 

by Google 

Original from 

%t WORLD of the 

WHEN Wilding 
Lear was 
shown into 
the room he 
found his old friend 
Professor Gaylor stand- 
ing with his right hand 
resting upon a structure 
the use and nature of 
which Lear failed to 
guess. In shape it was 
like a mammoth hour- 
glass, beginning with a 
broad foundation, pass- 
ing on to a wasp waist, and 
ending in a broad top. 1 1 
stood grand father-clock high, 
and on either side of it was 
placed a tall stool. 

" My good friend, I am 
glad you have come/' 

There was a strange 
flicker in the gaze Which 
the Professor bent on 
Wilding Lear. Wearily, 
a trifle nervously too, 
as one who is over- 
w iv \ u ght , over-anxious, 
he drew the tips of his 
long fingers across his 
wrinkled forehead to rake 
aside the wisp of iron gn \ 
hair which, dangling, overhung 
his left eye. When again he 
spoke it was a* though for 
himself alone to hear. 

" My four years' labour is 
ended. The mighty micro 
scope stands finished." 

* ( So that's your 
secret ! ' J cried Lear, 
excitedly, " A micro* 
scope ? " 

" I have not put it to 
test as yet," admitted the Pro- 
fessor, ,4 1 — I — 1 — to make a 
clean breast of it, 1 have been 
afraid to look into the instrument 
till I had someone, and that some- 
one you, with me. Old friend, 
from the beginning I counted on 
you sharing my triumph, or com- 
forting me in my failure/' 

Digitized by \j 





" I am proud to stand 
by your side when you 
take your first look." 

" You are to do more 
than just stand by my 
side, ^t precisely the 
same instant we two 
look into the micro- 
scope, to see what we 
shall see. To this " 
—he patted the top of 
the structure—" there 
are two pairs of eye- 
pieces, two pairs of 
si i n pie plano-convex lenses — ■ 
one pair for you, one for me." 
Splendid ! Have you 
charged the microscope ? " 
' With a tiny drop of 
water dipped from a ha!f- 
fro/en duck-pond." 

" And you expect the 
microscope to multiply 
how many times ? " 

Professor G a y 1 o r 

threw aloft his hands 

in a gesture which 

said, '■ The answer to 

your question is l>eyond 

Indefinite millions of 
times," was Ins vocal reply. 
Without more said the two 
old friends took their places 
each on a tall stool and p 
simultaneously bending 
their necks, applied their 
eyes to the eyepieces, 
An ocean, as spacious 
as the Pacific, and as 
calm. No South Sea 
coral isles here, how- 
ever, no shimmering 
white sands, no luxuriant 
fronclous growth, no lagoons 
resplendent in Oriental dyes. 
Here lay a chill, stark sea, 
stud dec! with icebergs which 
caught the sun's rays and 
splintered them back to the 
heavens like flaming sword 
blades of vivid, quivering 

QffrjWalffSffi t>coan itself was 


James Barr 


a dark, cold blue, and occupied the whole 
centre of the view. A swift general survey 
of this new world lying spread under their 
eyes showed the Professor and his friend 
Wilding Lear a dismal, stark land, apparently 
the beginning of a- bleak continent blurred 
far to the west ; to the south lay a great 
island, rough with outcrop of rocks ; and 
far to the north, just before the ice-floes 
joined into a solid mass, was a cluster of 
black shapes, contrasting strangely with the 
vivid white of snow and ice. It was these 
the scientist and his friend first scrutinized. 

" Whalers, I fancy? " exclaimed Lear, 
inquiringly. " Whalers entangled in the ice. 
Hallo, what's this ? " 

" What's what ? " asked the Professor. 

" Left middle ground. Eleven o'clock. To 
the right of that mighty twin iceberg. A 
ship's boat, unless I'm mistaken. And a 
man, lying asleep ; or — or — can he be 
dead ? " 

The two friends riveted their gaze on the 
tiny craft, ^nd were able to see into it as 
plainly as one who looks down from the 
deck of a liner into the pilot's boat alongside. 

" Not dead, I think," said the Professor, 
confidently. " He lies too comfortably. 
Asleep, I judge. Shipwrecked, most likely." 

As the Professor said this the sleeping 
man suddenly flung the blanket off him, and, 
jumping to his feet, stood staring in the 
direction of an iceberg that rode in majestic 
solitude a little distance off to. the west*. 
As he stood upon the thwart, rigid as a 
statue, the two friends scrutinized him. , 

" You'd swear he was a Scotch mate," 
vowed Lear. 

The fellow's head was covered by a mass 
of hair in colour so violently red as to be 
laughable, his features were blunt, chin pro- 
nounced, mouth large but firm, his arms 
gorilla length and of gorilla strength, his 
body solid and legs violently bandy, yet 
giving an impression of supports worthy of 
the frame they carried. He slowly raised a 
great red freckled hairy hand, and, shading 
his eyes, peered keenly towards that iceberg. 

" This must be an optical illusion ! " 
muttered the Professor. " This man is surely 
of our own world." 

" It's no illusion, no delusion," said Lear. 
"This vast ocean in here" — he drummed 
the tips of his fingers on the frarrte dfr the » 
microscope — " with its fleets, its islands, its 
icebergs, is encompassed in one pin-point - 
drop of frosted water lifted from a duck-* 
pond. A world reposing in the heart of an 
atom, verily the World .of the Vanishing 

The sailor was all-alive now. They dis- 
covered him seated on the fore thwart. ■ 
pulling with all his might at the oars, while 
every now and again he glanced over his 

Digitized by COOglC 

shoulder to afesure himself that he steered a 
direct course for the twin iceberg, the biggest 
berg afloat in that thickly be-berged ocean. 
Intense endeavour, strain physical and mental, 
was writ plain on his face, and anxiety rapidly 
growing into terror. The muscles of his 
arms, his breast, his back rippled and writhed 
and wove like living serpents. His teeth, 
bared of the lips, slashed gleaming white 
athwart his weatherbeaten face ; gleaming 
white, too, the foam that shouldered away 
from the boat as he fiercely thrust over the 
water. Plain that he fled from a dread. 
But what ? 

GAYLOR and Lear, abandoning the 
fleeing sailor, began to search the ocean 
for an explanation of the man's fear. 
They were not long in finding it. 

A little to the south of tlje berg from which 
the sailor was hurrying there suddenly bobbed 
up from the depths the heads of a score of 
creatures, something like walrus ; faces hate- 
fully human-like, fringed with long, coarse 
beards, and hooking from the upper jaw 
over the lower terrible tusk-teeth, each a 
sabre of. ivory. The creatures had ears that- 
unfolded, once the head emerged from the 
water, as the wings of a bat unfold, until 
they stood out like quaintly-cut sails. To 
each point of the compass the heads of these 
creatures turned ; the sharp red eyes 
scrutinizing every ripple of the ocean round 
about them. 

t( I -ike bloodhounds running a fresh trail," 
exclaimed the Professor, in a growl. " Have 
they sighted the sailor ? " 

" Not yet, I fancy," replied Lear, his voice 
trembling from ill-suppressed emotion. " But 
it's a sure thing the sailor knows of their 
proximity. See ! he is about to land. 1 ' 

The sailor thrust his boat alongside the 
iceberg, jumped on to a low strand-like ridge, 
secured the boat by placing a lump of ice 
on the end of the painter, then began a 
frantic running about, as if in search of 
a place where he could hide from the long- 
fanged monsters. The ridge on which the 
sailorman stood had been scored out of the 
solid ice by the action of the waves during 
the berg's long cruise from the north, and 
the best refuge the fugitive could discover 
was a narrow cleft worn deep by a runnel 
which trickled from the top of the berg. 
Into "this the sailor jammed himself till h^ 
was but indifferently visible to the two 
scientists, who now turned their attention to 
the walrus-like creatures over by the second 

Twenty heads were abob on the ocean. 
Suddenly one shot high out of the water, 
as a porpoise shoots, but instead of returning 
to the deep a wonderful thing happened. 
While the creature was still in the air there 



The World of the Vanishing Point 


. W$fr 

i - 




A <v ■■:■,;.... 





stood upon a foot ball and went bouncing 
ludicrously across a pond. There was wonder- 
ful resilience in that balloon substance, and 
the creature, by alternately crouching and 
heaving suddenly upright, hurtled himself 
across the surface of the water at an un- 
believable pace, heading direct for the sea- 
man 1 s boat. At his first bound his com* 
pa n 10 ns shot themselves out of the water, 
and were after their leader, each on a balloon 
of his own. So extraordinary an advance 
of creatures acting in common accord had 
surely never been seen by mortal eyes ! The 
leader, a giant among them, easily out- 
stripped ins followers, and coming to the 
boat at once began to pound it to pieces. 

The others , bounding to the side 
of their leader, joined without 
delay in a saturnalia of brainless 
fury, rending the planks one from 

"Into this narrow cleft the sailor jammed himselL 

developed from his flapjicr ,H feet " a round 
balloon, perhaps one hundred feet m diameter, 
and litis, resting on the surface of the ocean 
as light as a soap-bubble, balanced on its 
top the atrocious walrus creature as a 
pedestal carries a statue. A little while the 
creature glanced keenly about him, then, 
quickly lowering his shoulders, he thrust 
forward his ugly head and fixed his un- 
flickeriiiir gaze on the twin iceberg. The 
next instant his actions caused Lear to burst 
into a roar of laughter. It was as if a midget 

gitized byLiOOgfe 

the other and breaking each to 
splinters hv grasping it between 
their fore flappers, heaving it 
high overhead, and bringing it 
shattering down upon the edges of the ice. 
When they had wrecked the last plank they 
stood on their floating balloons in a fierce 
group, grinning in savage delight at their 
senseless destruction. The gigantic leader, 
at an agile bound, leapt from the water to 
the strand, and the instant his balloon 
touched the firm foundation of ice it squelched 


James- Barr 


out of existence like the snapping of a soap- 
bubble, leaving the uncouth creature standing 
upright on its hind flappers. Not a moment 
too soon did he leave the surface of that 
surly sea. 

Broken off by the berg's too deep plough- 
ing, up from depths , profound, , up from 
where in ineffable blackness and silence the 
blunt pronged roots of the iceberg scar and 
furrow the surly bed of the ocean ( up and 
up, accumulating velocity at each foot of 
the thousands of feet of its course so that 
at last it rushed with the devastating speed 
of a comet — up, to burst through the ocean's 
surface like the explosion of a mammoth 
shell, came an iceberg's " calf N1 — five thousand 
tons of solid ice. Right underneath the 
walrus host this giant " calf " burst forth into 

ocean by the side of the berg fell into chaotic 
agitation, raging, tearing, roaring, heaving 
like a maelstrom. Masses of ice ground and 
smashed one another to slush, and into this 
devastating turmoil the company of fierce 
walrus creatures fell back, to be battered to 
shapeless masses, some to -be sucked down 
to depths un fathomed, others to be thrown 
like dead fish upon the shelving shore of the 
twin berg. 

The giant leader, at the first upburst of 
the ' ' calf, J J acted quick as thought. He hurled 
himself headlong into the sea and disappeared 
like a sounding whale, burying himself 
fathoms deep, and, swimming with all his 
strength, shot up to the surface two hundred 
yards away from the turmoil of the waters. 
Refilling his balloon, he stood staring towards 

-by alternately crouching and heaving suddenly upright, hurtled themselves across the 
surface of the watet t heading direct for the seaman's boat," 

the air, smiting the sea into a raping turmoil 
and flinging the cruel creatures, spreadeagled, 
sprawling, spiralling, up to the height of the 
berg's highest pinnacle ; then back the " calf " 
fell smashing once more into the sea, The 

the berg till the raging waters died down ; 
then he bounded back. As he approached 
his dead followers lying on the ice a grin as 
of savage delight caused his face to break 
into an uely ripple of wrinkles, and, acting 

original from 


The World of the Vanishing Point 

as if he enjoyed the business, he Vigorously 
began to kick their bodies into the sea. 

"The grimness of him, the nithlessness of 
him ! " exclaimed Lear, throwing back his 
head and blinking his eyes to rest them. 
" He is more callous than brute beast." 
' Professor Gaylor, following his friend's 
fead, sighed : — 

- " I — I had forgotten it is not real. I had 
forgotten I was looking into a microscope." 

" There's no doubt about the reality of 
it," asserted Lear. " The beast is there, as 
that sailor will find unless I'm mightily 

( Lear was not mistaken. When the two 
scientists again applied their eyes the creature 
had forgotten its slaughtered followers and 
stood intensely taut and intent, listening. 

41 Foolish fellow ! " exclaimed Lear. " Why 
does he not wait till the beast goes away ? " 

The " calf's " great billow, flung sweeping 
along the strand of ice, had inundated the 
sailor's hide-hole, half drowning him, but 
the narrowness of the niche prevented the 
water from washing him out into the ocean. 
When the waters subsided the red-headed 
man scrambled to his feet, and was now 
furiously hacking at the face of the ice with 
his sheath-knife. 

" The fear of the beast has shifted his 
mental balance," exclaimed Gaylor. " He 
digs his knife senselessly into the unrespond- 

" There's method in his madness," contra- 
dicted Lear. " Unless I'm a Dutchman, he's 
endeavouring to hew steps up that sloping 
crevice, so that he may escape on to the 
plateau higher up the berg. What's this ? " 

LEAR'S cry caused the Professor to glance 
at the plateau high above the one on 
which the sailorman and monster stood, 
and a wonderful sight met him. Out from a 
narrow flaw in the side of the berg, advancing 
with the utmost caution, a girl emerged, her 
head bare. And what a beautiful head, to 
be sure ! Crowned by an abundance of hair 
that billowed and braided, tumbled and 
twisted in all dazzling shades of gold, hair as 
of spun sunshine which formed a scintillating 
. setting for a face too dazzling for the eyes 
of mortal to look upon without ecstasy. The 
forehead was of the purest ivory, the cheeks 
of a delicate pink; the eyes flashed liquid 
lire, the teeth were like pearls. The scientists, 
at first glimpse of the perfect face, drew 
in their breath with a gasp, their hearts 
began to run with the rub-a-dub of a kettle- 

A little while the girl paused, too timorous 
to venture boldly out from the safety of her 
home in the ice ; her eyes were expressive of 
surprise, so that the Professor and his friend 
believed that she, like the ugly monster, 

heard the " jab-jab " of the sailor's knife 
against the ice without being iable to guess 
what it could be that set the noise a-wing. 
At - length i;he girl did venture fully forth, 
and poised a-tiptoe upon the plateau towards 
which the sailor hacked his way. So ethereal 
a creature was she that the colour-flames 
flung from the ice appeared to strike through 
her ; a being as if created of gossamer, 
delicately, exquisitely modelled and as airy 
as a thistledown, a veritable nereid of the 
immaculate ice ! The radiant girl, still a-tip- 
toe, ventured, forward and stood quiveringly 
vital, finger to lips, head inclined, and she 
listened intently. In a little while, out from 
the same aperture in the ice came forth, as 
palpitating, as hesitatingly as their leader, 
a troop of girls, each one as beautiful as the 
first, round whom they now clustered in 
anxious wonderment. 

The red-headed, be-freckled, coarse-handed 
sailorman continued viciously to stab the 
knife into the ice ; the loathly walrus stood 
still in indecision as to the direction of the 

Presently the arms and sides of the ice- 
nereid queen began to quiver, and, as a new- 
born dragon-fly first unfurls its wings, two 
resplendent wings of many-coloured gau2e 
fluttered forth to shake free their outer 
limits, and gradually the wings grew greater 
and greater, until they reached from the 
girl's feet to quiver far above her head. 
With a resilient upspring she now launched 
herself into the air, and with her radiant wings 
beating at such a rate that they shone all 
around her, like a heat-haze of brilliant tints, 
she darted from the berg and out over the 
sea, where, poising as a humming-bird poises 
before entering the bell of a flower, she took 
a keen general survey of the iceberg. 

Strangely enough, perhaps because of the 
noise made by his knife on the ice, it was 
the sailor who first attracted her notice, and, 
curiosity overcoming timidity, she ventured 
forward in tentative, tiny spurts, her whole 
being a-flutter from apprehension, which, 
however, was not strong enough to defeat 
the delightful inquisitiveness of her sex. 
Nearer and nearer she approached, all* her 
wits centred on the strange being who, quite 
unaware of her presence, hacked hard at the 

" My girl, look out ! " suddenly barked 
Lear, in a voice ringing with alarm and 

The Professor's face blanched, for at Lear's 
cry he realized the pinch of the danger into 
which the timorous, delicate fairy-girl was 

Beneath her the gruesome walrus creature 
had dropped into the sea, and now crouched 
on his inflated balloon. When the girl poised 
almost directly above hi in the mon?ter bounded 


James Ban* 


' Beneath her (he gruesome walrus creature now crouched on his inflated balloon, his 

sibre-teelh ready to slashOriqinal from 

by Cidugl? 



The World of the Vanishing Point 

into the air, his face turned skyward and his 
sabre-teeth ready to slash. 

At the very instant in which the balloon 
-was well clear of the water the girl caught 
a glimpse of the beast projecting himself into 
the air with the velocity of a flung spear, 
straight for her. Quick as thought she acted. 
She was not so foolish as to try to fly higher, 
for to get momentum to mount takes time ; 
she could not dart forward for fear of dashing 
her head against the berg ; she dared not 
drop, for to do so would be to project herself 
between the horror's jaws. Seizing her only 
chance, the girl began to fling herself side- 
ways and to roll over and over, folding her 
wings as she went so that they might not 
impede her gyrations. Not a fraction of a 
second was lost in hesitation. Yet she could 
not propel herself quite out of harm's way, 
nor furl her wings in time. The black beast, 
coming nearly on a level with the fragile girl, 
and seeing her all but out of his reach, 
slashed one swift slash on chance, and a 
tusk cut clean as a knife through the delicate 
gauze of her left wing. A second time he 
slashed with fierce velocity, this time missing 
by the fraction of an inch. However, already 
the damage was done. Her right wing 
expanded full and a-quiver of life, but her 
left drooped hapless as the sail of a ship in 
the doldrums. The beautiful being's face, 
hitherto so pink and sentient, went deadly 
pale as, in spite of the frantic beating of her 
uninjured wing, she began to flutter help- 
lessly down towards the water, where already 
the beast, having deflated his balloon, was 
bobbing about, his body submerged, his head 
and shoulders in the air, waiting for his 
fragile victim to sink into his grim jaws. 

PROFESSOR GAYLOR. as though stung 
by a hornet, jerked his head away from 
the microscope, and began to stride the 
room in anguish. 

"It is beyond me to witness such a 
horror ! " he barked. " How did I dare 
create this terror-revealing microscope ? " 

A shout from Lear, however, brought him 
hurrying back ; again he glued his eyes to 
the eyepiece, and with his heart all the 
while beating and bumping from excitement, 
he beheld a display of affection on the one 
side and savagery on the other the like of 
which mortal eyes had seldom witnessed. 
The beautiful girl's companions suddenly 
came flying forth in a daring bunch, they 
surrounded their stricken leader, taking hold 
of her by the arms, the legs, the wings, the 
n^ck, the very hair of her golden head, and, 
while their wings beat the air more rapidly 
than ever humming-bird's vibrated, they 
managed, but only just, to keep the girl 
from sinking any lower, at the same 
time, little by little, inch by inch, they 

Digitized by (jOOQIC 

edged her ever nearer and nearer to the 

At the first sign of this attempted rescue 
the walrus beast flew into a veritable frenzy 
of savagery. He inflated his balloon and 
began to bounce furiously into the air and 
striking right and left at the swarm of fragile 
creatures that hovered just out uf his 
reach. In his highest bound he met with 
luck, but only with a little, for he managed 
to slice a cut in the foot of one of the girls 
who was flying the lowest of the lot. She, 
plucky, pretty thing, carried on as though 
she were not wounded, purring her wings 
with the best ot them, and never giving the 
least indication of relinquishing or desiring 
to relinquish her share in the saving of her 

" Why does not the monster bounce upon 
the strand? " cried the Professor. ' From 
its elevation he could not fail to reach them." 

" His balloon is too tender for the ice," 
replied Lear, impatiently. 

Frantically the walrus beast hurtled into 
the air, but fortune was not with him, for 
the girls, with a final -burst of energy, shot 
their wounded sister on to the ledge quite 
out of harm's way ; then all flung themselves 
down and writhed in the throes of utter 

" They've saved her ! " cried the Professor, 
as much in relief as in triumph. " Every one 
of them deserves the Victoria Cross." 

" If only the sailorman can now hack his 
way to that same ledge, I'll breathe again." 
admitted Lear, with a sigh. 

The Professor and his friend glanced to 
see what had become of the sailor, and found 
his red head protruding from the crevice, 
his eyes staring in fear and awe at having 
witnessed the life-and-death struggle. 
Abruptly he hurried back into his niche 
and began to hack away with redoubled 
energy. The walrus creature was paying no 
attention to the noise ; he still continued to 
bound high in the air, apparently for no 
purpose than to catch a greedy glimpse of 
the girls who had escaped his murderous 
fangs. A little while passed before the girls 
one by one got upon their feet. With the 
utmost gentleness they assisted their leader 
and the other wounded one into the ice cave. 

Professor Gaylor and his friend took .a 
breather. Their eyes were strained, their 
brains required clarifying, their nerves, taut 
for minutes, needed easing up. Together 
they took a few turns of the room, by which 
time their sight and emotions had become 
more nearly normal. 

It was as well the men resumed their 
watch at the moment they did, for otherwise 
thev might not have been able to understand 
the goings-on. 

The walrus horror had ceased to bounce ; 

Original from 

James Barr 

2 53 

once rpore he stood on the ice-strand, listening. 
The sailorman was driving in the blade of 
his knife, chipping off lumps of ice, which 
fell to his feet like splintered diamonds, and 
already he had fashioned in the ice three 
steps on the slope, upon the second of which 
he .stood, to carve a fourth. Presently the . 
wqjrus, advancing soft of tread, passed along, 
scrutinizing the face of the berg until he 
came to the crevice wherein was the sailor. 
He peered in. On seeing the man his lips 
curled in a savage snarl, and although the 
place was much too narrow to admit his 
bulk, he wasted some little time in futile 
attempts to squeeze himself in. Defeated, 
he raised himself to his full height, then with 
those strong ivory tusks of his he began to 
slash at the ice at a spot some distance above 
the sailorman's head. No one who saw him 
could doubt that the creature's intention 
was to hack out an opening, so as to cut 
the poor sailorman off from reaching the 
plateau of, safety. At every slash of the 
tusks chunks and splinters of ice flew. The 
sailorman, hearing the noise, glanced up, 
and the sight he beheld crashed upon his 
brain with such force that he lost grip of 
fingers and toes and fell in a heap to the 
bottom of the crevice. A moment only he 
lay, then he sprang to his feet, scaled the 
steps, and fell furiously to work again. 

Although the scientists could not hear the 
faintest indication of a sound, yet they did 
not doubt that there, in that weird world of 
the vanishing point, the labours of the sailor 
and the beast must resound with great noise, 
and this fact was impressed stronger on 
them when they beheld the troop of fairy- 
girls cautiously steal out from their home in 
the ice as if to investigate a noise. To lend 
each other courage they joined hands, and 
tiptoeing to the edge of their plateau they 
peered over. When they saw the furious 
activity of the beast they scudded back, and 
stood each with her hands pressed to her 
bosom, staring in quick alarm the one at the 

On a sudden they all started to gesticulate 
— all but one. This one — she was slightly 
taller than her sisters-?-very. soberly began 
to unfold her gossamer filament wings even 
while her sisters, laying gentle restraining 
hands on her, appeared to be imploring her 
not to put into action some intention she 
had announced to them. But the girl, gently 
too* lifted their hands from off her shoulders, 
smiled on each one of them in turn, and, 
spreading her wings, fluttered up and up and 
up until she overtopped the peak of the 
towering berg, when she volleyed herself 
with the speed of an arrow straight into .the 
west. The scientists followed her with their 
eyes until she blurred into a sort of mist. 

Returning to the iceberg, the men saw 

by LiOOglC 

quite a different send-off. Another girl, one 
of the tiniest of the lot, was opening her 
wings, to the applause of her sisters, who all 
danced about her encouragingly. This girl 
did not need to beat her way up and over 
the berg, but flew straight out over the ocean, 
heading due north. The others, springing 
into the air, escorted her a- little distance 
on her way, and on returning poured into 
their ice-home, perhaps to report to their 
wounded leader. A little while later this 
second girl blurred out of vision as the first 
had done, allowing the spectators to shift 
their eyes to the berg again. 

The sailorman had just finished his fourth 
step and now hacked at his fifth. The walrus 
monster, working more furiously than ever, 
caused the chips and splinters of ice to fly 
as a planing machine flings from it the short 
shavings of an oak plank. Even in the short 
spell he had axed out a big cavity over the 
sailor's head. 

TIME passed. Every now and again a 
couple of fairy-girls hand-in-hand would 
tip-toe out of the translucent ice for an 
instant or so to peer over the brink of their 
plateau at the man and the monster ; then 
to scud back, as if to report progress to their 
queen. They were in great trepidation. 

Again the scientists rested their eyes. 

" The sailor is a gone coon, I fear," sighed 
Wilding Lear. " The brute is heading him 
off easily. He's doomed." 

' I can't bear to think of him losing," said 
the Professor. * ' To see a living being fighting 
for life, and fighting a losing fight, is more 
than my nerves can stand. If this poor 
fellow is fated to lose, I would bite my thumb 
off rather than be a witness to his defeat." 

When the two resumed their watch nothing 
of great moment had happened. The sailor 
still hacked, the monster still rended. One 
of the girls was just emerging from the ice ; 
she spread her iridescent wings, mounted and 
spiralled up as if reconnoitring the far dis- 
tance, then, fluttering down, she seemed to 
call in to the others. Out a bevy of them 
came and, launching themselves into the 
air, they poised like a group of glittering 
angels a little distance from the berg. 

" What's this approaching ? " sang out 
Lear. " There, to the west ! " 

A dim black blotch in the sky caught the 
Professor's eye. It was rapidly emerging 
from a nebulous to a concrete form as it 
hurtled more and more into focus. 

" A flying thing of sorts/ 'ejaculated Gaylor, 

The fairy-girls had fallen into extreme 
agitation. The smaller and more fragile of 
them were urged home to the iceberg, and 
scurried out of sight as schoolgirls run from 
a wolf ; the stronger spread themselves out 



The World of the Vanishing Point 

to either hand and some mounted higher. 
Soon the flying thing frbhi the west became 
much more distinct, atid its fligTit was" found 
to be mightily erratic. It shot up, it dived 
down, it flung clumsy, heavy lurches to one 
side, then to the other, arid, indeed, seemed 
incapable of flying straight. 

"It pursues ! " cried Lear, whose eyes 
were sharper than Gaylor'S. "And, yes, the 
winged girl ! " 

She was so tiny, so indefinite compared 
with the big black blotch, that for a while 
Gaylor failed to detect her as she darted 
through the air. And in that air she played 
as eccentric as a minnow in a stream, doubling, 
twisting, tumbling, turning, but ever hurtling 
herself on towards the iceberg, towards home, 
towards safety ; all the while closely pursued 
by a monster flying thing, black as a crow, 
with a head like a griffin and long legs ending 
in talons of horn to equal the walrus creature's 
tusks. At every dart and twist of the girl' 
the black vampire twisted too, uncouth but 
wonderfully agile, and with one or other of 
its talon-claws struck at the fragile, gossamer 
creature a stroke that, had it so much as 
touched her, would have impaled its victim 
past all escape. But the dauntless creature of 
light and colour and gauze, although palpably 
in the pangs of terror and exhaustion, nimbly 
evaded each blow, if only by a hair's-breadth, 
and came tumbling on. 

Presently the whole bevy of iridescent 
girls poising there over the blue waters, 
glittering in the sun like a handful of up-fluhg 
chaff, awoke to activity, and flew sure and 
swift as arrows direct for the black vampire's 
head, cutting in between their now distressed 
sister and the ugly thing of prey. This 
vampire darted hither and thither, be- 
wildered by the multitude, and the' girls, one 
by one taking the post of danger, flashed 
before the winged vampire's eyes erratic as 
a reflection flung by a shaking mirror, 
causing the creature to lose sight of its 
original quarry and at every turn to take 
on the new one. Lear laughed with delight 
when he saw the game. The exhausted girl, 
now freed from pursuit, hurried direct to 
the iceberg and staggered panting into the 
icy doorway, while her sisters continued to 
tumble and twist and turn, now stopping 
dead, nowspiralling.spinning, diving, glancing 
off as though ricochetting on the air, yet all 
the time tempting the grizzly black thing 
ever on towards the twin berg. 

* Now we shall see fur fly ! " exclaimed 
Lear. " The plucky little souls are leading 
one horror to combat with another." 

HE spoke true. Having enticed the black - 
winged creature immediately over the 
spot where the walrus quarried at the 
ice, the girls, at a reckless spurt, shot them- 

by LiOOgle 

selves headlong into the crevice and alighted 
at the very feet of the sailorman. The next 
instant down thundered the black vampirfe, 
out raked its terrible . talons, home they 
struck with deadly certainty deep into the 
shoulders of the walrus monster ; then, the 
huge wings laboriously, furiously flapping, 
up off the ice was hoisted the astonished 

Taken completely by surprise, the beast 
hung limp for a moment, when, flying into 
a flutry of savagery, it began to squirm arid 
double, lithe as an impaled otter. It threw 
back its ivory tusks and struck with tremend- 
ous force straight at the breast of the vam- 
pire. When the blow hit home the vampire 
flung its wings wide, ceasing to beat the air, 
and for a second' it looked as though the 
two were about to fall down into the ocean, 
but once again, and this time more frantic 
than ever, those huge wings of tough black 
hide thundered in the air. Higher and ever 
higher those wingS careered, and all the 
while the vampire and the walrus monster 
fought with tooth, tusk, and claw. Fur was 
flying like chaff in a whirlwind, great tufts 
of, it were torn off from both combatants, 
&nd patches of hide as well, for the vampire 
was as devoid of feather and as well clothed 
in fur as the walrus creature itself. . ■ 

Up upon the higher plateau of the ice, to 
look on at the gigantic battle, now fluttered 
the girls, big and little, young and old, and 
out to stand in their midst came their beauti- 
ful queen, whose wounded wing was bound 
neatly to her side. Out from the crevice 
crept the red-headed sailorman to turn his 
befreckled face skyward to watch the furious 
battle in the air, a battle that ever receded 
from him higher and higher. In strength 
the two creatures were evenly matched ; in 
tenacity, in savagery, in weapons of offence ; 
but the vampire, having its adversary in an 
unfamiliar medium, the air, held what at 
first seemed an advantage. Yet was it really 
an advantage ? If the walrus had been on 
ice the vampire could nave made free use of 
its terrible talons, to strike and to tear, but 
up here in the very blue of the sky it felt 
itself compelled to hang hold of its prey 
and to fight with its terrible jaws. It 
drove its claws deeper and deeper into the 
walrus creature, and strvck its horny head 
with the crash of a steam-hammer smashing 
on the head of its foe, who, in his turn, 
stabbed and slashed with sabre-tusks, ripping 
a riiighty gash at every blow. From each 
creature blood flowed freely. Plainly the 
fight up in the vault of heaven could not 
last much longer ; plainly, too, it was a 

At length the altitude limit was reached. 
The vampire could mount no higher. The 
fierceness of the fight, the hurt of the wounds, 


James Barr 


The next instant down thundered the black vampire, out raked its terrible talons, 
home they struck deep into the shoulders of the %v alius monster." 



The World of the Vanishing Point 

the loss of blood and the weight of its burden, 
brought the skinny, horny, flying creature 
to a stop while still its leather wings furiously 
beat upon the air. Then suddenly the 
wings, which, heretofore so masterful, had 
buoyed up the battlers, drooped with the 
pathetic limpness of a cut flower that has 
exhausted its water, and, lurching sideways, 
the vampire began to fall. 

The walrus, sensing victory, struck more 
furiously vigorous than ever before. The 
vampire, reviving and not to be outdone, 
drove its vicious jaws in deep, and renewing 
its strength moment by moment it began 
tearing out and redigging in its mighty claws. 
Over and over in deadly embrace the two 
tumbled in a wild chaotic descent, a descent 
that became faster and faster at every turn. 
The scientists, holding their breath, saw the 
girls dash scurrying for the protection of 
the ice, they saw the sailorman cower back 
into his crevice. Still locked in the embrace 
of hate the two monsters, with the velocity 
of a crumpled aeroplane, hurtled through 
the air and in their descent first struck upon 
the side of the iceberg a glancing blow, then 
in a vast bound they shot down to the 
surface of the sea and there they lay, 
mangled, broken, their wide-open eyes filmed 
over in death. Only for a little while the 
waves toyed with them, slowly swirling 
them around as to the touch of a gentle 
maelstrom, then, with startling suddenness, 
engulfed them into the depths. 

PROFESSOR GAYLOR jumped from the 
high stool to the floor, his parchment 
cheeks wrinkled in the first smile that 
had come to him since the waters of the 
strange ocean were spread out to his gaze. 
Lear followed, radiant. His delight that the 
girls should have risked their lives to save the 
life of a shipwrecked sailor was unbounded. 

" Noble creatures ! M he kept exclaiming 
as he rubbed his hands together in glee. 
" Noble creatures ! Plucky souls, frail and 
beautiful as butterflies, yet lion brave. At 
the risk of their own lives they saved the 
rife of a common sailor." 

A full five minutes passed before the 
friends remounted to their high stools, and 
when they peered through the eyepieces the 
sight that greeted them was one to warm the 
cockles of their heart. The sylph girls stood 
together in a glittering group each in the act 
of shaking free her wings to hover over the 
berg, when to them flew the tiny sister who 
had sped off to the north just before the 

coming of the vampire. This sibyl pointed 
towards the quarter whence she came, and 
the scientists beheld a clumsy, sturdy whaling 
ship holding soberly over the waves, curtsying 
and yawing a ponderous course straight for 
the iceberg. 

" A rescue ship ! " cried Lear, in delight. 
" I guessed as much/' 

Down from their plateau on to the lower 
strand the fragile creatures now fluttered 
one by one, each a link in surely the loveliest 
-< ladies' chain " mortal eyes had ever danced 
to behold, and out from his crevice they 
beckoned the brawny, be-freckled sailorman. 
He came forth willingly. Using him as 
morris-dancers use a maypole the girls joined 
hands and began, light, nimble as fairy folk, 
to circle around him, slowly, sedately at first, 
but each succeeding encircling increased in 
zest and spin. Round and around they 
tiptoed, so that the motion grew into a dizzy 
w,hirl ; on and on, still faster and faster, 
they spun, till at length individual form 
became merged into a whirling band, and the 
red-headed sailorman, a mighty grin on his 
freckled face, stood encompassed, Saturn- 
like, by a zone of dazzling, dancing, flashing 
colour, a zone for ever weaving and blending 
in inspiring harmonies to out-bedazzle the 
splendour of a rainbow's proud-flung arch. 
A new light now pervaded the world of the 
vanishing point, a light as of the aurora 
borealis, deep-dyed, resplendent ; and this 
light, striking down upon the face of the 
waters, kindled into diamond flames each 
mighty berg till it glowed and scintillated 
with ardent fires. The vast ocean lay an 
enamel of dark blue studded with brilliant 

The scientists stared, fascinated. The old 
whaler came alongside the twin iceberg. 
The radiant dance died down ; the sailorman 
was rowed aboard, and the girls, having 
waved a merry good-bye, tripped one by one 
into their ice palace. Darkness snuggled 
down upon the world of the vanishing point. 

BEFORE evaporation wrecks the wonder- 
ful world we have been permitted to 
peep into, let us replace the drop of 
water in the duckpond," said Wilding Lear, 
speaking under his breath, for the awe of 
the infinitely large in the infinitely small lay 
heavy upon his soul. 

Professor Gaylor, his fingers a-tremble in 
his eagerness not to lose a moment, handed 
out to Lear the glasses between which lay 
the tiny film of duck-pond water. 

by Google 

Original from 


orv a personal theme 


Illustrated by Bert Tkomas. 

In the Theatre. 

FEW musicians have, I suppose, had 
more varied experience with the 
theatrical profession than I have had. 
Indeed, the first fifteen years of my 
career were passed within the four walls of a 
theatre. First came " L'Enfant Prodigue," 
as I have told in another chapter. Then 
followed several tours as conductor with 
comic operas under the management of 
Horace Sedger and William Greet. After 
that I went to Sir Augustus Harris, and was 
conducting English opera at Drury Lane and 
Italian opera on tour when Mr. Tom B. 
Davis got the lease of the Lyric Theatre and 
engaged me to conduct his comic opera 
productions there. I stayed with him for 
some years, and I look back upon that 
engagement with the greatest possible 
pleasure, as he was always kindness itself 
and always made me feel that I ought to be 
doing much better and higher class work. 
He is a man who always says very bluntly 
exactly what he means, and therefore those 
who work under him generally know exactly 
where they are. As an instance, I remember 
when he was managing director of the 
Theatre Royal, Birmingham, that some little 
official, who was a local man, was continually 
making futile suggestions as to how the 
theatre should be run. I was present on 
one of these occasions, when Mr. Davis 
turned round very abruptly to the young 
man and said, " Now, look here, Mr. So-and- 
so ; your ideas may be very good, but I prefer 
rr y own ; so with your permission we will 
keep to them, and pray don't worry yourself 
any further, or you may get brain fever ! " 

ONE other incident comes to my mind. Tt 
was during the run of " Floradora." 
Mr. Davis had a habit of coming on 
the stage after the performance to discuss 
matters with myself and the stage manager, 
and there was one particular actress in the 

Digitized by G* 

theatre who always rushed up to him most 
gushingly and inquired how his " dear wife " 
was, or she hoped ** dear Mrs. Davis " was 
well. He hated gush of any kind, and whis- 
pered to me, " I know I shall be very rude 
to that lady one night if she continually 
bombards me with questions about my wife's 
health." The night, alas, arrived ! Mr. 
Davis came on the stage as usual and was 
inclined to be irritable and bad-tempered. 
Up rushed the lady in her most gushing 
manner, seized him by the arm, and said, 
•• And how is dear Mrs. Davis ? " He 
replied, in an acrid tone of voice and with an 
expression on his face quite indescribable 

unless you know the man, •' Now, Miss S , 

my wife is very well. When she is ill, I will let 
you know ; it will save us a lot of trouble ! " 

He lent me for a few months to Marie 
Tempest, when she made her dibut as a 
serious actress in " Nell Gwynne " at the 
Prince of Wales's Theatre, and I produced 
Edward German's charming music to that 
play. This she followed with M Masks and 
Faces " by her husband, Cosmo Gordon 
Lennox, for which I wrote the incidental 
music. After this I returned to my former 
post to conduct " Floradora " and to produce 
" The Silver Slipper." It was at the end 
of the run of the latter piece that I deter- 
mined to give up conducting in a theatre 
for once and for always, and turned my 
attention seriously to concert conducting. 
Nothing has ever tempted me to return to 
the theatre either for grand or comic opera, 
although I have had many tempting offers. 
This has not prevented me from writing or 
arranging or producing incidental music on 
several occasions during the last few years. 
Two such events stand out clearly in my 
memory. The first, the production of 
Gabriel Faure's beautiful music to Forbes- 
Robertson's " Pelleas and Melisande " at the 
Prince of Wales's Theatre; the second, arrang- 
ing some of Beethoven's music to Tree's pro- 
duction of the play called " Beethoven.' 

I consider that when Johnston Forbes- 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

Robertson thought fit to retire from the 
stage this country lost the greatest tragedian 
of our generation. Apart from his wonderful 
histrionic gifts, he was one of the gentlest, 
dearest creatures in the world with whom to 
work. I thoroughly enjoyed my few weeks 
with him during the run of M Pelleas and 
Melisande." Maeterlinck was then caviare 
to the multitude, and the experiment was 
a very risky one financially. The cast was a 
superb one, Mrs. Patrick Campbell playing 
Melisande, Martin Harvey Pelleas, and 
Forbes-Robertson Goliaud. Ian Robertson 
(Johnston's brother) produced the play, and, 
as I have said, Gabriel Faure (the late 
Directeur of the Paris Conservatoire) wrote 
some beautiful incidental mu<?ic, and I con- 
ducted. The play was only done at matinies, 
and as far as I can remember was not more 
than a succis d'estime. 

A similar fate awaited Tree's production 
of " Beethoven," which Louis N. Parker had 
translated from the French. Tree asked me 
to go and see him. He told me quite frankly 
that he had already approached Richter, 
but that he had refused the offer, so I was 
offered the job. It appealed to me, and 1 
put my heart and soul into it. For three 
weeks I had to pass my life at His Majesty's 
Theatre, and it was during this period that 
I got to know Herbert Tree really well. I 
found him a man of infinite charm, infinite 
pose (which had become almost second nature 
to him), and infinite kindliness of heart. 
He was often intensely irritating in the 
theatre, and at times I found him specially 
difficult owing to his amazing ignorance of 
music. I remember I had taken the first 
few bars of the divine Andante movement 
from the Ninth Symphony to accompany a 
certiin touching speech in the play. He 
stopped me in the middle of it, complaining 
that the orchestra was too loud. I got it to 
play pianissimo. He stopped us again. He 
didn't like the clarionet. I pointed out that 
it was a flute and that it happened to be 
Beethoven's own scoring, and that I was not 
prepared to alter it. It was all no good. He 
said he didn't liker.or approve of the scoring 
and wanted it out. I kept to my g%ns antt 
refused, beginning to feel that I simply 
could not stand such ridiculous criticism. 
And herein came his sensitiveness ! In two 
minutes he had come round to me, laying 
his hand kindly on my shoulder, saying, 
" My dear Ronald, how thoughtless I am ! 
Here you've been rehearsing for four hours 
and had nothing to eat or drink. I've sent 
at once for some sandwiches and half a pint 
of champagne for you. That'll put you 
right." I thanked him cordially and was 
really touched by his kindness, but whispered 
to him, " It's just like you — but the flute 
must remain in ! " And it did ! 


HE got the better of me, however, the 
following week. He asked me one night 
to supper in the Dome, and we were 
talking about the piece and the music, when he 
suddenly said, " Ronald, as Beethoven dies 
and the curtain falls, I want the orchestra 
to play the Ninth Symphony ! " He gave 
forth this dictum with a magnificent gesture, 
worthy of Svengali. I am perfectly con- 
vinced that he had not the remotest idea 
what a Symphony was, and that he had 
confused the term with the introductory 
bars or 4I symphony " to a song. However, 
I answered him perfectly seriously, but 
perhaps with a glint in my eyes, " A capital 
idea, my dear Tree, a great idea ! But I 
am only wondering whether the audience 
will remain seated for an hour after the end 
of the piece, and also whether you will mind 
paying a chorus of at least fifty or sixty 
people to sing when the play is over." 
He asked me what I meant by "an hour," 
and I explained to him that that was the 
length of the work. He said he had for- 
gotten that, but I knew that he had never 
known it ! A pause ensued, and after a 
little deliberation he said, " Can you do an 
excerpt from the choral part ? " I told him 
it was possible, but I pointed out the expense. 
This was the last thing he considered, and it 
was there and then arranged that a chorus 
should be engaged and trained, and that the 
orchestra should play on the stage just for 
five minutes. The effect was most dramatic, 
and his suggestion proved to be right. 

His sense of humour was a joy, and he 
was extremely fond of bringing out aphorisms 
of an amusing kind. There are so many 
stories connected with his name, which have 
been told over every dinner-table and printed 
in every paper, that to attempt to tell a 
new one would almost savour of imperti- 
nence. But the following anecdote, if not 
new, has, as far as I know, never appeared 
in print, and with many apologies to those 
to whom it may be a " chestnut," I venture 
to tell it now. As far as I can remember, it 
was just about this period that Signor 
Grassi, the great Sicilian tragedian, visited 
this country and gave a season at the Garrick 
Theatre. Tree, as the acknowledged " head " 
of the profession, thought it would be a nice 
compliment to Grassi to give him a supper in 
the Dome of His Majesty's Theatre. The 
date was arranged, and about fifteen or 
twenty of the best-known ** lights " in the 
fine arts and science were duly invited to 
meet the great Sicilian. The party was in 
every way a success, and in a happy and 
graceful extempore speech Tree bid Signor 
Grassi a hearty welcome. It was getting 
very late, and about two o'clock or half-past 
two Grassi (who had had considerably more 
champagne than was good for him) made a 
V-m i q i n d i Trorn 


Landon Ronald 


move to go. 
Everybody at 
once rose to their 
feet, and Grassi {in 
true Sicilian fash- 
ion) began making 
his adieu x by kiss- 
ing everyone on 
both cheeks with 
great warmth. A 
l ook of horror 
came over Tree's 
lace as he edged 
away from his 
guest, murmuring 
to Cecil King, his 
Stag* manager, 
,c Take him down 
in the Hit. and 111 
walk down. I will 
not be kissed by 
Grctssi" After 
some difficulty a 
hansom cab was 
obtained for tbe 
purpose of taking 
Grassi home, and 
Tree was waiting 
to help him in, 
when, without the 
slightest warning, 
he flung both arms 
round Tree and 
kissed him fer- 
vently on both 
cheeks I Tree's 
expression was a 
study f He suc- 
ceeded in control- 
ling his feelings, 
however, and 
asked his guest 

politely and frigidly where he lived, so that 
he might direct the cabman. This seemed 
to puzzle Grass i As a matter of fact, 
it leaked out afterwards that he was stay- 
ing in some very shabby apartments in a 
very shabby street in So ho with a Sicilian 
ice-cream merchant, a friend of his youth, 
After some hesitation, Grassi replied, "If 
vou pleece, ask him to take me Ganrrick 
featm/' Tree, addressing the cabman, said, 
" Take this gentleman to the Garriek 
Theatre." The cabman looked down scorn- 
fully, and asked, * 4 What the blankety blank 
does r e "want to go to the Garriek Feater for 
at this time o' night ? " 'I don't know," 
was Tree's quick rejoinder, " but I should 
think he has forgotten to kiss the fireman ! " 
My latest connection with the theatre has 
been with my old friends Arthur Collins and 
Alfred Butt, for their production of " The 
Garden of Allah/' When Arthur Collins 
wrote to me and asked mc to write the 

Digitized byC*t 

Without the slightest warning he flung both arms round Tree 
kissed him fervently on hoth cheeks/' 


incidental music for this play it appealed to 
me greatly and brought back many memories, 
I have already shown how much Arthur 
Collins was connected with my youthful 
days. The same remark applies to Robert 
Hie hens, the author of the book, who, as I 
have said elsewhere, was a fellow -student of 
mine at the Royal College of Music, and 
used to bring me lyrics and ask me to set 
them to music, when we were both youngsters. 

Sir Alfred Butt I used to know when he 
occupied a very small position in the office of 
the Palace Theatre. He and the acting man- 
ager at that period used to lunch every day 
a 4 : the Trocadero, where I always joined them, 
and it was a serious point when it came for 
us to toss who should pay for coffee, because 
neither Butt nor myself could really afford it. 

It was therefore with no ordinary feelings 
that I once again found myself associated 
with Collins, Hie hens, and Butt, all of whom 
I have known for over twenty- five year5< 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

Needless to say the association proved of 
the pleasantest, and my work for ' The 
Garden of Allah ; ' — which, incidentally, I 
consider is some of the best music I have 
ever written — was nothing but a pleasure 
from the moment I undertook it. I promised 
Collins to conduct the first night. After- 
wards I wished I hadn't ! It will be remem- 
bered by many that the great scene of the 
play is a sand-storm. I shall never forget 
its effect on the first night ! When it was all 
over and the lights went up, I found to my 
horror that I was completely covered in 
sand from head to foot. I looked round, to 
find the dress-coats of the men in the 
orchestra also covered with it. Some wag 
(as a matter of fact. I believe it was that 
wicked fellow Herman Finck) wrote to Sir 
Alexander Mackenzie: 'Have you heard 
about Sand-on Ronald the first night at 
Drury Lane ? " Such outrageous jokes should 
be punishable by law ! 


I HAVE often been asked who I consider 
was the greatest conductor. The ques- 
tion always reminds me of the story 
of the lady who asked Liszt what he 
thought of Thalberg. Liszt replied : He 
is the king of pianists." But, Master/' 
rejoined the gushing damsel, " what of your- 
self ? * * I am the only pianist in the 
world," said Liszt. Without in any way 
wishing to infer that I am emulating Liszt, 
my reply to the question about conductors 
is, and always has been, ' Nikisch is the king 
of conductors." As such he appeals to me. 
In private life he is really charming. He 
possesses the most delightful speaking voice, 
perfect manners, great understanding, and 
sympathy. He is a good raconteur, and told 
me a story of an unrehearsed incident which 
took place when he was conducting the Boston 
Symphony Orchestra. Paderewski was to 
make his first appearance on this particular 
occasion, and at rehearsal the orchestra gave 
him an overpowering reception. One of the 
'cellists became very excited, and stood up 
and made a little speech. This was an un 
heard-of breach of etiquette. But no cries 
of • Order " or ' Sit down " had any effect 
upon him. It turned out that he was a Pole. 
He ended his oration, glowing with patriotic 
pride, thus : " You see there Paderewski — 
my countryman — a Pole — (crescendo). He is 
like Caesar — (fortissimo) ' He came, he saw, 
he inquired ' " ! 

I have known John Drinkwater for close on 
twenty years. I knew him when he lived 
in a tiny little house just outside Birming- 
ham, and when he used to pay his shilling to 
come and listen to mv Promenade Concerts 

there. He was a great enthusiast on music in ' 
those days, and was a bit of a dreamer and 
much of a poet. Not a great deal of his work 
had been published then, but that which had 
appeared made its impression in the right 
quarter, though I remember it being criti- 
cized as being rather involved., I felt and 
knew that he would make a great name for 
himself, and always told him so. In 1908 a 
little book of poems by him was published 
by the Samurai Press entitled " Lyrical and 
Other Poems," and he sent me a copy, with a 
charming dedication. Imagine my pleasure 
when 1 found that one of them was written 
about myself. I don't think the book ever 
had much success, although there is some 
splendid poetry in it. I am so very proud 
of the one he wrote about me that, without 
asking the permission of his publisher or 
himself, I reproduce it here : — 


Communion with the souls that vigil kept 

Along the shores that girt the world's unrest, 

And gathered mighty music in their quest, 

Is thine . the undiscovered joy* that leapt 

To tryst ing hearts what time their kindred slept, 

The yearning and the wonder manifest 

To these that through uncharted regions pressed, 

Are of thine high election to accept. 

Among the little line of votarists 

To beauty's holiness, tho.i stand'st elate, 

Thy spirit stirred by ravellings of fate, 

Love's patient lips and fear's antagonists ; 

Thou too art one of God's evangelists, 

Tn sweetest revelation dedicate. 

Leoncavallo was a fat, good-natured 
fellow, very fond of eating, and somewhat 
ponderous for an Italian. I knew him in 
the 'nineties when he had made a furore with 
his opera " Pagliacci." I met him once 
many years after, and it was then that he 
recounted to me an incident which occurred 
in a little town in Italy called Forli, known 
for its silk factories, but of course boasting 
its own Opera House, notwithstanding its 
population was not more than forty thousand. 
He was there by chance, and saw that a per- 
formance of " Pagliacci " was in the evening 
bill.- Nobody knew he was there, and he 
decided to go and listen to it incognito. At 
the opera he sat beside an enthusiastic young 
lady, who noticed that he never applauded, 
but on the contrary showed signs of boredom. 
' Why don't you applaud ? Don't you like 
it ? she asked. The composer, much 
amused, answered disagreeably, " No ; on 
the contrary, I find it great rubbish and un- 
original. It is the work of a dilet'ante." 
" Then you must be very ignorant of music," 
she replied, indignantly. " On the contrary," 
said Leoncavallo, " it is because I know what 
I am talking about that makes me so certain 
my opinion is correct" He then tried to 

by t^ 




Landon Ronald 


persuade her that this particular aria was 
stolen from Bizet, that another motive was 
from Wagner, and that such and-such a bit 
was taken from Verdi, and so on, and so on + 
She looked at him with pity in her eyes and 
remained quiet till the end of the perform- 
ance. '* And all that you have told me is 
your honest opinion of * Pagliacci ' ? " she 
asked, rising to leave. *' Every word of it," 
said the composer. ** All right/' she said ; 
" one day you'll be sorry for It" He bowed 
low to her and they separated. Next morn- 
ing, reading the chief local paper, his eye fell 
upon an article headed in big letters, 
" Leoncavallo on his own opera ' Pagliacci, ' ' 
and, to his utter confusion, found his conver- 
sation of the previous evening written out 
word for word and accredited to the proper 
source. The enthusiastic young lady turned 
out to be a lady reporter who recognized him 
at once, and who proved too smart for him. 
He swore to me that he had never said an 
unkind word about his own music since, 

In 1894 Augustus Harris engaged an entire 
Italian Opera Company to appear at Drury 

Lane, and it was then that the first per- 
formance of Puccini's " Manon T^escaut " 
was given, and then that I first met the 
composer. It is interesting to compare the 
position he held in this country at that 
time with that he occupies at the present 
day. " Manon Lescaut M had been ac- 
claimed a masterpiece in Italy, and it 
remains undoubtedly one of the composer's 
finest works. It was a failure here on its 
production. We were simply soaked in 
Mastagni and Leoncavallo, and even some 
of the critics insisted that Puccini was nothing 
but a copyist of those two great men. 
4t Manon " was never a subject that appealed 
to the London public, but if they had it at 
all, they liked it with Massenet's music, and 
rather resented Puccini setting it. No opera 
could have been presented with greater odds 
against its success. The book, as I say, 
was disliked ; the composer was practically 

Why don't you applaud? Don't you like it?* she asked. 'No, I find it great 
rubbish and unoriginal/ said the composer/" 
• f * /~\i"\ ti 1 "■ Q 1 n a I fro m 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

unknown, and was at once condemned as a 
plagiarist ; the production and performance 
were third-rate. Notwithstanding all this, 
an Italian claque — which was the fashion in 
those days — made a tremendous noise, and 
at the end of each aria or duet cheered and 
applauded lustily. Puccini was standing 
next to me at the back of the stage. He 
was extremely nervous, but every round of 
applause seemed to put fresh life into him. 
The reason for my telling this story is simple : 
It was on this occasion that Arthur Collins 
and I took hold of Puccini by each arm and 
by main force prevented him from going on 
and bowing immediately there was any 
applause. I have learnt since that it was 
the custom — the very reprehensible custom — 
in Italy for the composer to bow on a first 
night whenever the audience applauded, 
whether it stopped the action of the opera 
or not. We have done many outrageously 
inartistic things in this country, but, thank 
Heaven, we have never descended to any- 
thing quite so low as that ! 

ONE of the kindest and best of men it has 
ever been my lot to know — and to know 
him is to love him — is Emile Enoch, the 
head of the great firm of music publishers, 
Messrs. Enoch and Sons. He has known me 
since I was a little boy, and has been 
my publisher for thirty-two years. I have 
yet to meet the man who has an unkind 
thing to say about him. I am quite sure 
that he will be the last to take offence 
at an old friend for telling one or two 
little stories against him. Over twenty 
years ago I wrote a song-cycle called 
" Summer-Time " (which contains that 
well-known song, " O Lovely Night "), and 
I marched off with it to him in great 
excitement, thinking I had written a master- 
piece. He was very kind and gentle in his 
criticism, but I left him with the manuscript 
still in my possession, after having been told 
that it was utterly useless writing music too 
difficult for anyone to play or sing. Back 
it went into my portfolio, which was already 
very full of songs that had been refused by 
every publisher, and there it remained for a 
year. One evening I confided to Ben Davies 
that I had got this work for tenor and 
orchestra, and asked permission to play it to 
him. He was delighted with it and showed 
it to Cowen, who was then the conductor of 
the Royal Philharmonic Society. He ap- 
proved of it and promised its production at 
a Philharmonic concert. Most excited at 
my good fortune, I offered it again to Mr. 
Enoch, who was not at all impressed by my 
story, and still maintained that it could 
never sell. I offered to give it him if he 
would publish it. He relented towards the 
end of the interview and said : ' Simply as 

by L^OOgle 

a friend of you^s I will publish it and give 
you a* sixpenny royalty, and if you get ae 
much as a shilling postal-order from me at 
the end of the year you'll be lucky ! " The 
little work was duly produced, Ben Davies 
singing it magnificently and Cowen prophesy- 
ing a big success for " O Lovely Night." 
The reception was all that could be desired 
and the critics unanimous — excepting one, 
the Times. The gentleman who represented 
that paper on this particular occasion 
thought fit to make the amazing statement 
that 4 * although it was very scholarly, it 
entirely lacked melody." Eventually it was 
published, and I heard nothing about it 
until a letter arrived asking me to call and 
see Mr. Enoch. I went, and we talked 
about all sorts and manner of things, and I 
was unable to fathom what he wished to see 
me about. At last, in a most shamefaced 
sort of way, he said : " Oh, by the way, my 
boy, we are getting innumerable inquiries 
for that song of yours in your * Summer- 
Time ' cycle called * O Lovely Night,' and 
we think of publishing it separately. I 
suppose you have no objection to us doing 
it on a royalty ? " Of course I hadn't, and 
of course he knew I shouldn't have any 
objection, but that was his way of confessing 
that he had been wrong and that I had 
" struck ile." And that song, and indeed 
the " cycle," sells better to-day than ever it 
did in those days. 

" Down in the Forest " is such a very well- 
known song of mine that I need make no 
apology for telling here how entirely de- 
ceived both Mr, Enoch and myself were 
about its worth. I had written a cycle of 
four songs called " The Cycle of Life," and 
felt somehow that the balance was wrong 
and that another song was required in the 
middle of the album. I wrote and told the 
author, Harold Simpson, my feelings, and 
he promptly agreed with me and sent me 
" Down in the Forest." I wrote the music 
in half an hour, took it to Enoch, and thought 
so little of it that I didn't even wish to play 
it to him. He insisted, however, and I did 
so, making the remark : 'It will never sell 
a copy, but it is just the bit of makeweight 
I want for the cycle." After hearing it he 
agreed with me and my sentiments ; the only 
dissentient voice was that of his partner, 
who happened to be present, and said : 
" You never can tell ! It might be a big 
seller." He was very right in his pre- 

One more story, and I have done with my 
songs. Twelve years ago I took a mad 
liking for W. E. Henley's poems I set six 
of his " Echoes M and showed them to Mr. 
Enoch, who liked them immensely. I in- 
sisted that they should be called ** Six 
Henley Songs." He disapproved and argued. 
Original from 


Land on Ronald 


"But why Henley 
Songs ? M said he, 
"Much better call 
them Regatta 
Songs " ! 

« ■ 

One of the 

greatest friends 
o{ my life was 
Liza Lehmann, 
and I still mourn 
the loss of a very 
noble woman. I 
always enjoyed 
the true story her 
brother - in - law, 
Barry Pain, used 
to tell against 
her and Maude 
Valerie White, 
It appears that 
Liza was staying 
with her sister 
and her brother- 
tn - law in the 
country, and was 
compelled one 
day to come to 
London. She 
complained to 
Barry Pain that 
she felt lifeless 
and weak. He 
recommended her 
to go to a chemist 
and get " Fhos- 
pherinc/' and she 
promised to do so. 
In the train she 
me t Ma tide Valerie 
White, Liza in- 
formed her that 
she felt "run 

down/* and Maude White said she was feeling 
exactly the same, " Well/ 1 said Liza, very 
confidently, fl it's all right, because Barry 
has given me the name of a medicine that 
will cure me at once, You had better get 
some. It is called — er — er— oh, I know — 
Chlorodyne" Maude White declared she 
would get some immediately they reached 
London. At the station they parted, and 
met again the following week. " Oh, Liza,*' 
said Maude White, " how clever your 
brother-in-law is! I took the Aspirin he 
recommended you to take, and it cored me 
at once/' ' But, my dear Maude," replied 
Liza, concernedly, " it wasn't " Aspirin f I 
told you ; it was ' Owbritlge's Lung Tome.' 
That is what I took, and it cured me " ! 

I received a letter one day from a stranger 
a-sking me if I would tell her whether " Down 
in the Forest " was mv favourite song, and if 

Digitized by ^OOQIC 



said Sir Edward 

Elgar, ' it*s a good ^ way of getting a library 
nothing, isn't it ? ' *" 

not, would I mention the name of the one I 
preferred and the reason why. This letter 
gave me an idea. How interesting it would 
be to know which novel was considered by 
its author to be the best he had written and 
to get him to state the reason. I carried out 
the idea at once, and wrote to many of the 
best- known living novelists. Almost without 
exception they complied with my request, 
and in one or two instances the correspond- 
ence led to acquaintanceship being formed, 
and later to friendship. The collection is a 
valuable and an interesting one, and it is 
among my most treasured possessions* I 
was showing it one day to Edward Elgar, 
who carefully examined the books and read 
the letters. With a twinkle in his eye, he 
turned to me and said : " H'm . ! It's a good 
way of getting a library for nothing, isn't it ? 

* By A curious coincidence, we are publishing in the present 
number a. syrApm't nj n:i very tiriutaf" lines. 



Variations on a Personal Theme 

Now yon must write to all the greatest Jiving 
painters and get them to send yzu their 
favourite picture ! It would be nice to have 
a Sargent, a Lavery, an Orpen, and a few 
others for nothing ! *' My reply was for his 
ears only, and would not pass the Censor ! 

I met Caruso a day or two after he had 
made his debut at Covent Garden Theatre in 
' Kigoletto," and we struck up a friendship 
which lasted till the end. He had the spirits 
of a boy ; he loved a joke, and was for ever 
drawing caricatures, for which he had a great 
talent, I have dozens of letters from him, 
and almost every one contains a little 
humorous drawing 
of some kind. 
Apart from his art, 
I found it difficult 
to pet him to be 
serious. It must be 
Tern ember ed that I 
am writing of him 
as I knew him ten 
years ago. Owing 
to the war, I never 
saw him after 1913, 
There is no need 
foT me to refer to 
him as an operatic 
singer, because all 
the world knows 
that he was the 
greatest of his kind. 
But as a concert 
singer he was less 
known, although 
he sang more at 
concerts than is 
generally supposed . 
He was in enor- 
mous request 
during the season 
for concerts given 
at private houses, 
and he would re- 
ceive as much as 
four or five hundred 
guineas for singing 
at one of these 
functions. And 
how he hated doing 
it ! But I think 
the thing he dreaded most were the many 
" Commands " he received to sing at Court. 
Although King Edward and Queen Alexandra 
were the most gracious of Sovereigns, Caruso 
suffered agonies of nerves when he had to 
sing before them, and he once told me that 
he would prefer to sing " Othello " twice 
through in one evening than have to sing 

" 1 remember Caruso bowing, with a big coal on, 

hat and stick in hand, and smoking a big cigar, 
The audience took the hint and eventually ceased 

two songs at Court* The surroundings of 
the concert hall were equally distasteful to 
him. He came up to Blackpool to sing for 
ine at one of the Sunday Concerts, and the 
methods he employed were both original 
and interesting. He would only allow him- 
self to be announced for one solo in the first 
part of the programme and one solo in the 
second half. He arranged with his accom- 
panist to have five encores ready after his 
first appearance, and five more after his 
second appearance, The result was that he 
never came on and bowed. He simply sang 
the item on the programme, walked off the 
platform amidst a hurricane of applause, 
promptly returned with an encore, and 
repeated this performance until the five 
numbers had been sung. After this not wild 
horses would have dragged from him any- 
thing more. He 
had given Mis audi- 
ence twelve songs, 
and that sufficed. 
I remember him 
bowing, at Black- 
pool, with a big 
coat on, hat and 
stick in hand, and 
smoking a big cigar. 
The audience took 
the hint and even- 
tually ceased ap- 

Innumerable are 
the stories I could 
?el'l and the im- 
pressions I might 
give of such dear 
friends as Edward 
Elgar, Henry 
Wood, Edward 
German, Thomas 
Beech am, Kubelik, 
Kreisler P M i s c h a 
Elman, Irene 
Scharrer, Benno 
M o i s e i w i t s c h. 
Arthur de Greef r 
Mark Hambourg, 
and many others ; 
but my experience 
teaches me that it 
is a fatal error to give the public too much of 
anything. I heartily dislike either to conduct 
or listen to long programmes, 1 have enough 
stories left to make one or two more '' Pot- 
pourris " : but in the meantime I feel I have 
sufficiently imposed my memories on a kind 
and forbearing audience. If an encore is 
really demanded, it shail be forthcoming. 


[TA**e *£ltcii#ns fivm Sir- Lander* ti>rta/ds Remtniteentes at* fntfrfi&be r &j arrangement mith Mestrt. fitddt* 6r* 
StoMghtm* wk* art tksrffy a suing M Variation m a Ft*S9H#t Thwmt " in vmmw* fcrm.) 

by Google 

Original from 



charges CROMnr/s 

No. 4. — The Honour of Monsieur Lutarde. 


■^^^^— ^-^^^ i 

IT was perhaps the greatest surprise 
of my life when the trim, benevolent- 
looking gentleman with the red riblxm 
in his buttonhole, who was sharing 
my seat in the Jardins des Invalided/ sud- 
denly addressed me by name. For over a 
year— ever since, in fact, my escape from the 
English police in Scotland — I had been 
engaged in the strenuous task of founding 
and cultivating a new identity. My name 
was Mr. John D, Harmon. I was a retired 
dry goods dealer from Providence, U.S.A., 
and I spent most of my time at the Grand 
Hotel, talking with compatriots and playing 
dominoes and billiards. A trip across the 
ocean, a few days spent in Providence, and 
a general knowledge of the s true lure of 
American life had I>een all the actual training 
necessary. I had a circle of friends willing 
to vouch for me, whom I could have increased 
a lm os t a d UK ; a doss *er a ccep t ed a nd pi goon - 
holed by the police : a general appearance 
which, thanks to my manner of dressing, my 
horn -rimmed eyeglasses, my short beard and 
moustache, would have left me unrecognized 
even under the scrutiny of the great Sir 
Norman Greyes himself. I had not even 
heard the sound of one of those names under 
which I had passed in England, for many 
months. It came upon me therefore as a 
thunderclap when my companion, to all 
appearance a person of the upper and 
official classes, whom I had noticed many 
mornings when strolling in the gardens, 
deliberately went behind the many aliases 
Vol. l*iiL-tS. , £dp(-r1jM |i9*7, by E. 


of which I had made use at different times 
and addressed me by my baptismal name. 
' ,H A little chilly for April, is it not, Monsieur 
Michael Savers ? Vet the spring marches 
well. You perceive that the chestnut buds 
are already waxy." 

I turned a little towards him, my right 
hand stealing towards my pocket. He bore 
my scrutiny without flinching. 

" By what name did you address nie, 
monsieur ? " 1 asked, 

" By your own/' was the courteous reply. 
• - You have borne many others, have you 
not, monsieur ? — yet between us the real 
one is perhaps Inst/ 1 

He was of the French police, 1 decided, 
and my hand stole a little deeper into my 
pocket. My mind began to contemplate the 
chances of successful escape. There were 
not many people about, and the nearest 
Metropolitan station was close al hand. 

" Permit me to offer you my card/* my 
companion proceeded, drawing an elegant 
case from his pocket and handing me a thin 
strip of ivory pasteboard, I read it care- 
fully, My eyes, however, were watching for 
any movement on his part : — 

Monsieur Gaston LEi ? fevkE t 
Agent de Compagnie d' Assurances. 

13, Rue Scribe. 

"That, monsieur/ 1 my com pan ton con- 
fessed, " is not my name/' 
" Indeed ? ir I muttered. 

II It is an identity/" he continued, '-which f 
havt 1 fixed upon the little world in which 


206 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

I spend the greater part of my time, a name 
under which I have earned a certain reputa- 
tion, a certain social standing. But it is 
not my own. I was christened Paul, and 
my surname Is Gont." 

" Paul Gont ? " I repeated, incredulously. 

" I am indeed he monsieur," was the 
convincing reply. 

My fingers once more gripped the butt of 
the weapon from which they had been 
momentarily withdrawn. 

" It was reported," I said, watching him 
steadily, " that Paul Gont had joined the 
secret police of France." 

A flicker of annoyance passed across my 
companion's face. His expression was no 
longer so beneficent. 

" If that were true, monsieur," he rejoined, 
" I should by now have become their chief. 
I address you, believe me as one master 
craftsman to another." 

" Why do you imagine that my name is 
Michael Sayers ? " I asked, cautiously. 

He smiled. 

" I take a keen interest," he confided, 
"in the exploits of my — shall I say fellow- 
adventurers ? — in other countries. 1 read 
with much amusement — not unmingled, be- 
lieve me, sir, with admiration — of your escape 
from the police in Scotland, and the arrival 
here of Mr. John D. Harmon, from Provi- 
dence, shortly afterwards, also interested me. 
There is- little tha+ goes on in Paris of which 
I do not hear." 

" You have your own secret police ? " 

" Certainly, monsieur," he assented : '' but 
they work for me and not for the law." 

He lit a cigarette from a handsome gold 
case which he passed courteously on to me. 
With his hands upon the carved top of his 
Malacca cane, he gazed* benignly around. 

" It is indeed a spring, morning," he 
declared. " There is a perfume of lilac in 
the air. Even the hard faces, of the flower- 
sellers are softened by the sunshine. And 
you observe the little nurse-girl over there, 
my friend, how wistfully she looks around, 
and how coquettish the little ribbon at her 
throat ? Even we elders — - " 

" I should be glad to know," I interrupted. 
" why you addressed me as Michael Sayers ? " 

" It was a risk-, I imagine," my companion 
admitted. " You are reputed to .be. a map 
who shoots from his pocket with great skill. 
However, remind yourself that I have 
trusted you with a secret at least as amazing 
as your own." 

My hand came out from my pocket. The 
man indeed spoke truthfully. The name of 
Paul Gont was even better known in tfte 
history of crime than the name of Michael 

" You had some reason for making yourself 
known to me ? " I queried. 

He bowed. 

" Apart from the pleasure of meeting so 
distinguished a confrire," he said. " there is 
a scheme in which I am at present interested, 
in which it might amuse you to take part. 
You arc probably a little wearied by the 
idleness which must go with the building up 
of a new identity." 

" Let me hear about it," I begged. 

My companion brushed the ash from his 
trouser leg and rfcse to his feet. 

" Let us walk to my office," he suggested. 
" We will see whether any fresh business 
has come in. Afterwards, we will, if you 
choose, lunch together at some discreet place. 
How the police of the world would tremble 
if they saw our heads together over a bottle 
of wine ! " 

ICOl'LD not altogether discard my sus- 
picions, for it seemed incredible that 
this man was really the daring criminal 
whom the police ot three countries had sought 
for many years in vain. Nothing in the least 
disturbing happened, however. We visited 
a reputable and quietly handsome suite of 
offices in the Rue Scribe, where my companion 
conversed for several minutes on various 
matters of business with his clerks, gave 
some general instructions, and signed his 
letters. Afterwards we walked across to the 
Place Gaillon, where my host selected a 
lunch with the skill of the born gourmet. He 
refused to allow me an aptritif, but ordered 
the choicest of wine. In the ccflirse of our 
meal he asked me a most surprising question. 

" Do you hear frequently from your friend, 
Sir Norman Greyes ? " 

" If I heard from him at all," I replied, 
" I imagine that the situation 'would be, to 
say the least of it, precarious. What do you 
know about him ? " 

My companion. smiled. 

" I had a little affair of the same nature," 
he confided, "with the sub-Chief : oft the 
Police here. Francis Dumesnil, his name 
was." ^ - 

" And where is iie now ? "I asked. : 

"He disappeared," was the considered' 
reply. " A great many people disappear in 
Paris. It was a battle of wits: between us, 
and I was almost sorry when the end came. 
; Self-preservation, however, makes strenuous 
demands upon one sometimes," 

" Concerning! Norman Greyes ? " I per- 

'.'.Forgive me, I wandered a little from the 
.•point-.-' I mentioned Norman Greyes' name 
{because he is: in Paris." 
r " In Paris ? " I exclaimed. 

" He arrived by the Calais train last 
evening. I fancy that later on in the dav 
lie may probably stroll into the American 
l&r at the Grind Hotel." 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 


The news was in its way terrible, yet I 

could think of no broken link in the chain of 
incidents connecting my new life, If 
Norman Greyes were indeed upon my track, 
lie was possessed of gilts lor which I had 
never given him credit. Either that, or 
there had been treachery in the one direction 
where I knew no treachery was possible. 

" I take it/' I said, slowly, " your suggestion 
is that Norman Greyes has disco veredThy 
whereabouts ? ,J 

M I will be perfectly frank/' was my com- 
panion's prompt avowal, *' I do not know 
that. I am as anxious to discover the truth 
;>s you are. There is a distinct possibility 
that Norman Greyes has come over here in 
1 onnection with another affair in which 1 am 
indirectly interested. If that should be so, 
us coming may be, so far as you are con- 
reined, only a coincidence. 1 have a pro- 
yxjsition to make to you. Take a taxi-cab 
and drive out to Versailles for the afternoon. 
On your way hack, stop at the Taverne 
Rertain, near the Armenonville. I will meet 
you there at seven o'clock. By that time 
I shall know. 1 propose a perfectly fair 

bargain to yoiu If he is here on your 
business, I will assist you to escape, li he is 
interested in the other little matter 1 spoke 
of, I shall claim your help, 

11 It is a bargain/' 1 promised. 

u So to our chicken/' my companion 
murmured, eyeing with approval the dish 
which had just been extended towards him. 

Let us Lunch together at some discreet place. How the police o( the world would 
tremble if they saw our heads together over a l>ofn!e ol wine I" 


268 The Sinister Qmek ot Norman Greyes 

IT ivas about half -past five that afternoon 
when I dismissed my taxi and seated myself 

at one of the small tables under the trees 
outside the Taverne Bertain. The chairs 
were set far enough back to avoid the dust, 
but commanded a pleasant view of the 
constant stream of passing vehicles. I 
ordered a glass of tea with a slice of lemon, a 
packet of Caporal cigarettes, and settled 
down to one of my favourite tasks — watching 
my fellow-creatures. Every variety of the 
human race was in evidence, riding in every 
description of carriage : the sublimely in- 
solent Parisian beauty with her cavalier of 
the moment, she the last word in elegance 
and perfumes, he almost apish in his sartorial 
vanity ; the shopkeeper and his family ; 
the prosperous merchant with his richly - 
dressed wife ; the man of serious affairs, 
generally with a comely companion. So 
they passed on, their momentary quest of 
fresh air an obvious hiatus in the greater and 
more strenuous pursuit of what for them 
meant life. A rabble, I told myself a little 
contemptuously. Not one of them had 
realized the supreme joy of existence. 

It was as though Fate had suddenly 
decided to deal my philosophy a mortal 
blow. The thing which I should have 
deemed impossible was there before me. In 
a handsome limousine car. travelling slowly 
in the trail of other vehicles, appeared my 
enemy, Norman Greyes — and by his side 
Janet. He wore a light grey suit and a 
Homburg hat : his long, lean face seemed as 
sombre as ever. Janet was talking whilst 
he listened — talking of something, it seemed, 
more important than the idle flotsam of the 
moment. The car passed on. I remained 
seated in my chair. I do not think that I 
had turned a hair, yet an icy hand seemed to 
be gripping my heart. I had a moment's 
wild and savage desire to throw my glass at 
a thrush hopping contentedly around me. 

A quietly-appointed electric brougham 
turned in at the entrance to the raft, and the 
man who had introduced himself to me as 
Gaston Lefdvre descended. He was looking 
very spick and span, dressed with the utmost 
care, and apparently fresh from the barber's. 
He approached and seated himself by my 

" You have self-control, my friend." he 
observed ; " but perhaps you did not believe 
your eyes." 

" My eyes are the only things in this 
world which 1 do absolutely trust," I 
answered, coldly. 

My companion stroked his grey imperial. 

" I will drink absinthe to-day. Francis," 
he told the bowinj? waiter. " See that it is 
made as I like it. Come, my friend," he 
added, " throw away your wishy-washy tea 
and join me." 

by Google 

I shook my head. 

" Alcohol is not one of the necessities of 
life with me," I said. " It stimulates some, 
I suppose. It merely depresses me. Tell 
me what you know about the coming of this 
man Greyes." 

" In the first place, then," Lefevre an- 
nounced, pleasantly, as he helped himself to 
one of my Caporals and lit it, " let me 
reassure you. Greyes is not in Paris on 
your account." 

" And his companion ? " 

' For the moment I am puzzled," was the 
frank confession. "I can tell you this, how- 
ever. Your wife was sent for according to 
my instructions. I know very little about 
her, it is true, but I have agents in London 
who keep me well informed as to what goes 
on on your side of the Channel, and, from 
certain things I have heard, I came to the 
conclusion that she was the one person who 
could bring to a successful issue the little 
affair which I shall presently propose to 

' You seem to l>e taking things rather for 
granted," I reminded him. 

" Your co-operation is a certainty," he 
replied, with a smile. " There will be half 
a million francs for you, and you must be 
getting short of money. Furthermore, by 
a very pleasing coincidence, the brains of 
the other side are controlled by your ancient 

" The scheme is already commended to 
me," I admitted. Nevertheless, expound 

My companion glanced around, as though 
to drink in the pleasant spring air and tb 
bask in the warm sunshine. He drew a little 
sigh of content. All the tables around us 
were empty. 

' I will tell you a curious story," he 


I CELEBRATED my return to England 
and civilization by a stroll down Bond 
Street on the morning after my arrival. A 
gusty wind was blowing, fleecy fragments 
of white clouds were being driven across 
the blue sky. The occasional sunshine was 
deliriously warm, the air was full of perfume 
from the florists' shop* and from the flower- 
sellers' baskets at the corners of the streets. 
After two years' absence, it was like a ne\v 
city to me. I met a few acquaintances and 
exchanged greetings with a couple of friends. 
Then, at the corner of Conduit Street, I came 
face to face with Janet Stanfield. 

We stopped as though by common con- 
sent, and the civilization by which we were 
surrounded seemed to fall awav. The last 
time I had thought of her was when I had 


E. Phillips Oppenheim 


lain on the edge of a windy precipice in 
North-western India, fastened by my belt 
to the roots of a stunted shrub for safety, 
with a camp-fire throwing strange and lurid 
lights into the black gulf below, and my little 
corps of guides in their picturesque costume 
murmuring low chants after their evening 
meal. In that eternal silence, the woman's 
inscrutable face, her cold yet seeking eyes, 
the constant invitation of her reluctant lips, 
had held and filled my thoughts. Sleep had 
come only with the pink dawn, and a troubled 
sleep at that. Now I was face to face with 
her, unchanged, with the same riddle in her 
eyes and smiling lips. 

" Welcome home, Sir Norman Greyes ! " 
she said. 

M Thank vou," I replied. " I only arrived 
last night."" 

She looked at me critically. 
" A most becoming shade of brown/' she 
commented. " And you are thinner, too. 
Have you been going through hardships ? " 
" None but those I have sought," I 
assured her. " I was in Mesopotamia for 
eight months, and in India most of the rest 
of the time." 

" Big-game shooting, the papers said," 
she continued. " Tell me, my enemy, was 
it as interesting as man-hunting ? " 

" Each has its thrill," I replied, 4t but you 
must remember that I long ago ceased to be 
a professional hunter of men." 
She smiled. 

" So that is why vou have let my husband 
alone ? " 

11 It was not my affair to search for him. 
That was a matter for the authorities. If 
my help is sought in solving the mystery of a 
crime, I aril generally prepared to do my best. 
Otherwise, I do not interfere. You have 
news of him ? " 

She laughed bitterly. 

" Since he left the Lodge that night," she 
replied, " and you kicked your heels over at 
the Dortny House because of your parole, 
I have neither seen nor heard of him." 
" Do you mean that ? " 
She nodded, 

■" Scotland Yard," she declared, " has not 
imagination enough to juggle with facts, but 
as regards detail its myrmidons are won- 
derful. I think that I was watched every 
day up to the. end of at least the first year. 
Wherever my husband may be, he will not 
approach me until it is safe." 

" And when it is safe ? " I ventured. 
" I shall go to him, I suppose," she 

I suddenly realized with a little shock 
that she was plainly, almost shabbily dressed. 
The undefinable elegance of her still remained, 
she was still distinct from all other women, 
but she owed nothing to her clothes. 

She read my thoughts in most disturbing 

"A terrible neighbourhood, this, to fre- 
quent in one's last year's garments," she 
observed, smiling. " I was just thinking that 
I should like a black-and-white check tailored 
suit. Would you like to buy me one, Sir 
Norman ? You really ought to, you -know. 
We made terribly little out of that Men wood 
Street Bank affair, owing to your flash of 
inspiration." • 

" I admit the liability," I replied. " Which 
establishment shall we patronize ? " 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

" At heart I believe that I am an honest 
woman," she sighed. " I cannot bear the 
thought of your paying out notes for the 
adornment of my person. You shall give 
me lunch instead. For all that you know, I 
may \>e as short of food as I am of clothes. 
I am certainly very hungry." 

WE turned towards Regent Street and 
lunched in a restaurantof bygone fame, 
half bourgeois, half Bohemian. She 
would tell me nothing of her manner of life 
or of her abode, yet somehow or other I 
fancied, reading between the lines, that life had 
become something of a struggle for her. She 
asked me deliberately for my address, but 
refused me hers. She angled for another 
invitation, but shook her head when I 
proffered it. If ever she had been in earnest 
in her life, she was in earnest when we said 

" These meetings with you," she declared, 
" stimulate me more than I can tell you. 
but they leave something behind which I 
cannot define. I do not think that I will 
dine with you, Sir Norman — not just yet, 
at any rate." 

She glanced at her watch and hurried off. 
I had an idea that she was returning to some 
daily task. I called at my club, talked for 
an hour or two with some friends, and in due 
course made my way back to my rooms. 
I was restless and ridiculously disturbed. 
It was the most accursed stroke of ill-luck 
that I should have met with this woman on 
the very day after my return. Fortunately, 
distraction awaited me. 

11 Mr. Rimmington has been waiting for 
you for some time, sir," my servant an- 
nounced. " He is in the sitting-room with 
another gentleman." 

My friend rose eagerly to welcome me as I 
entered. I shook hands with his companion, 
who was known to me slightly. 

" The Chief asked me to bring Lord 
Hampden to you," Rimmington explained. 
14 He came this morning to ask for our 
help in an affair which is rather outside our 
province. The Chief thought that you might 
be of assistance." 


*7o The Sinister Qiiest of Norman Greyes 

#i Let me hear about it;" I begged J 

My distinguished visitor phmged at once 
into the matter. 

,l The story is simple enough, Sir Norman," 
he said, " but serious. You are in 
touch with French politics ? " 

° Scarcely," I answered. " I have 
been in India for the last eighteen 
months, and onlv arrived in London 
last night." 

"French politics to-day/ 1 Lord 
Hampden explained. t( hinge chiefly 
upon the question of France's atti- 
tude towards Germany, There is a 
party— the patriotic and military 
party — fiercely determined to make 
Germany pay to the uttermost 
farthing, and to squeeze the last drop 
of blood out of her by force of arms. 
The opposing party is all for com- 
promises, encouragement of German 
trade, and even for a rapprochement 
with Germany. Yon know, of course, 
who is the leader " of the patriotic 
party ? " 

11 Ltitarde, I should imagine." 

" Philippe Lutarde/ 1 my visitor 
assented, " He is hated by the pro- 
German party, as I will call them, 
first because of his bitter enmity 
towards Germany, secondly because 
of his devotion to England, and 
thirdly because of his unfaltering rec- 
titude. An attempt was made upon 
his life not long ago, and the French 
police have been instructed to watch 
him night and day* Lately, how- 
ever, there has t)een more uneasiness 
than ever amongst the patriotic party. 
It is, I fear, true that the Chief of 
the Police is of the pro- German 
party, and there is, without doubt, a 
plot brewing at the present moment 
against Lutarde, It has been sug- 
gested to us that a thoroughly 
capable Secret Service man from this 
side might be of assistance in un- 
ravelling it. Yon follow me, I hope, 
Sir Norman ? " 

•* I think so," I admitted ■ M but 
what is the nature of the plot ? JJ 

M One can only surmise," Lord Hampden 
replied. '' We do not believe, however, that 
it is assassination. That would only make 
a martyr of Lutarde and sanctify his cause. 
We want you to go over to Paris and consult 
with a person whose name I w T ill give von. 
You will be backed in any steps you may 
think well to take, by unquestionable 
authority. It will be a difficult commission, 
and. in a sense, a vague one, bul I may sa\ 
that, in the event of your achieving any 
success, the Government would consider itself 
under the deepest debt of gratitude to you." 

" I will do what I can, of course/' I 
promised. ,+ When do I start ? " 

" We should like you to catch the eleven 
o'clock train to-morrow mornjng," the 

' The thing which I should have deemed 

Greyes- and 

Ca bine t Minister suggested, rising to his 
feet. "If you will dine with me at eight 
o'clock to-night in Carlton Terrace, I will 
furnish you with every other detail/ 3 

So on the following morning, in less than 
forty -eight hours after niy return to England, 
1 found myself going through the urdinary 
routine of the Continental traveller, register- 
ing my luggage, arranging my smaller belong- 
ings in the seat which had been reserved for 
me, and strolling back to the lxx>kstaJl for 
a few final purchases. There I came face 

,o "M'&fMF m£hr*** " pon 

E. Phillips Oppenheim 


a similar task- She was studying a ladies' 
journal and looked up at the sound of my 
voice. For the moment her indifference 
deserted her. She was frankly amazed. 

" I am a little tired,' 1 she admitted. 

I performed several small offices for her 
on the journey, for which I could see that 
she was thankful. At Calais she had no 

impossible was there before me. 
by his side Janet." 

In a handsome car appeared my enemy, Norman 

" You ! " ■ she exclaimed. " Where are 
you going ? " 

" To Paris," I answered. " And you ? " 

"We are fellow-travellers/' she said, slowly. 
" Why did you not tell me yesterday ? " 

" In an armed truce/' I pointed out, " the 
combatants do not usually disclose their 
future plans." 

She turned a little pale, 

"So we are in the lists again/' she 

M I thought you enjoyed the struggle," I 
reminded her. 

reserved seat in the crowded train. 1 did 
my he*t to procure one for her, but in vain. 
I had no choice but to offer her a place in 
my reserved compartment. She was looking 
very fragile and tired as she accepted my 
offer with a grateful smile and sank into a 
vacant seat, 

" You are a wonderful enemy/' she con- 
fessed. "I am losing all my hatred of you, 
I will be franker with you than you have been 
with mc, and tell you that when we met 
vesterdsiv I bad no idea of this journey. I am 

272 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

She curled up as gracefully as a cat and 
went fast asleep. When she opened her eyes 
the people were streaming down 4 the corridor 
in answer to the call for the first dinner> 

" Have you eaten anything to-day ? " I 

" Nothing, and I am ravenous," she ad- 
mitted, frankly. 

I committed the atrocity of dining at half- 
past five. Afterwards, she once more took 
a corner seat in my compartment and lit a 
cigarette. She was a good deal more like 
her old self. 

" Has your husband sent for you ? " I 
asked, bluntly. 

" The parole has expired," she reminded 

I nodded. 

" Listen," I continued. * 4 I am not out 
to do the work of Scotland Yard. I do not 
know where your husband may be hiding. 
My journey to Paris has nothing to do with 
him or his affairs. Yet you must understand 
this. If chance at any time should put me 
upon his track, I should follow it up and hand 
him over to justice. Nothing," I added, 
looking her steadily in the eyes, " could alter 
my determination so far as that is con- 

This time she did not take up the challenge. 
She only sighed and looked out of the window. 

" You are very hard," she murmured. 

" I have been a servant of the law," I 
reminded her, " and I belong to those who 
choose to abide by the law." 

II Why," she asked, " have you never 
denounced me as the murderess of that man 
at Woking ? " 

" Because there has never been a tittle oi 
evidence against you," I replied. " There 
are any quantity of known criminals walking 
about to-day, in the same position." 

" Supposing there were evidence and it 
came into your hands ? " she persisted. 

I hesitated, and my hesitation seemed to 
count to her as a triumph. 

" I cannot assume a situation that has 
not arisen," I told her, stiffly, 

I saw her luggage through the Customs, 
for which, as she knew no French, she was 
grateful. I offered her a seat in the car 
which had been sent for me, but she shook 
her head. 

" I am going to the Gare de l'Est," she 

" Where you will take a fresh cab and 
drive to the address which you do not intend 
me to hear," I remarked. " You need not 
go out of your way. I will give you another 
parole. I will make no effort to discover 
your address, so you can take your taxi and 
drive straight there. I shall be at the Hotel 
Meurice. If you have an hour to spare, we 
will drive in the Bois to-morrow." 

F>R the next few days I was fully im- 
mersed in the complications of the busi- 
ness which had brought me to Paris. 
Rather to my surprise, Janet called to see me 
at the hotel, and we took our drive in the 
Bois. It was easy to realize that, whatever 
the business which had brought her to Paris 
may have been, it was of a disturbing nature. 
She was nervous and ill at ease, looking 
around all the time as though she were afraid 
of being observed. There was a certain hard- 
ness, too, which seemed to have returned to 
her. Somehow. I gathered when we parted 
that she was obsessed by some new fear, some 
underlying dread of circumstances of which, 
however, she gave me no inkling. It was 
only after she had gone, and I found myself 
thinking over our rather disjointed conversa- 
tion, that I came to a certain conclusion. 
I decided that she had received definite and 
disquieting news of her husband. I could 
scarcely believe that he was in Paris. 
Rimmington had assured me that he had 
teen located in Central America, and after 
all, I decided, the affair was no concern of 
mine. Some day or other would come the 
reckoning between this man and myself. 
I frankly confess that I had not the ghost 
of an idea that such a day might dawn 
within the next few hours. 

At the end of the third day of my stay 
a little conference was held in my salon 
between Guy Ennison, who had worked in 
the English Secret Service during the war, 
and whose headquarters had been in Paris, 
myself, and M. Destin, an ex-Chief of the 
Police, now a member of Lutarde's Govern- 
ment. The latter was a short and corpulent 
little Frenchman, with black moustache and 
imperial, vivid black eyes, and a most 
vivacious manner. He spoke English with 
a marked accent, but with great fluency. He 
opened our conference with a few words of 

" Sir Norman Greyes," he said, grasping 
my hand, " you are welcome. If you can 
help us to save our Chief, you are more than 
welcome. He is in danger— of that I am 

Much of the rest of his speech was irrele- 
vant. The gist of the matter, however, was 
contained in his concluding sentences. 

" They will seek to strike through his one 
weakness — his sentimentality, his over good- 
nature. Philippe Lutarde has always been 
a lover of women, a kindly and a generous 
lover. He can resist no appeal to his sym- 
pathies, and our French public — you know, 
perhaps, how strange they are. Whatever 
our own private live^ may be, we tolerate 
not even indiscretions from our great men. 
We glorify and sanctify them, we place them 
on a pedestal, and if they fall we depose 
them from our heafl¥? m AU nations have 


- i 

R, Phillips Oppenheim 


their peculiar form of hypocrisy. That is 
ours. Lutarde's daily life is being examined 
at the present moment, hour by hour." 

" By the police ? " I asked. 

,4 No ! By the agents of a very dangerous 
gang of criminals, whose Chief we believe to 
be in league with the other side." 

" Why not give warning to Monsieur 
Lutarde ? " 

" That has been done. He is haughty and 
impetuous. He will brook no interference 
with his actions." 

" Is his life above reproach ? " I asked, 

' Absolutely," was the confident reply. 
: He is seventy years of age and a philosopher. 
He has too much natural dignity to attempt 
that side of life for which his age renders 
him unsuitable. At the same time, he is full 
of sentiment. He likes to dally with the 
finer emotions. He would inhale the per- 
fume of the roses from his neighbour's 
garden, but he would never seek to pluck 
the blossoms/' 

" Can I meet him ? " I suggested. 

" To-day at the British Embassy," Guy 
Ennison replied. " We have arranged a 
little luncheon. He does not know your 
errand, and he scarcely even realizes our 

Our conference broke up soon afterwards. 
At luncheon I found Philippe Lutarde 
gracious, charming, and brilliant. He had 
the clear skin and bright eyes of a younger 
man, his snow-white hair was a veritable 
adornment. His sense of humour was 
abundant and his laughter infectious. He 
was a delightful companion, and I easily 
understood the enthusiastic adherence of his 
friends. Towards the close of luncheon, 
Ennison spoke to him quite seriously of 
the existence of some conspiracy against 
either his life or his honour. Lutarde only 

' My friend," he said, " I much appreciate 
all your efforts on my behalf, but behold, I 
am seventy years old ! A few years more or 
less of life now are little. As to my honour, 
that no enemy can besmirch. If I were to 
surround myself by guards, as you suggest, 
place myself in a glass house, I should live an 
artificial life. I know that without mc 
things might for a time be difficult, and 
relations between our two countries might 
suffer. In a month or two, however, all that 
will be changed — we shall have entered upon 
a new era — and for these few months I choose 
to take my risk. I will not submit to 

"You are subject to it at present from 
the other side," Ennison reminded him 

" If I find a man attempting it," was the 
fierce replv, " I will shoot him." 

NEVERTHELESS, for the next three 
days I cast away my name and I 
resorted to the meaner walks of my 
profession. I shadowed the great French 
statesman from the moment when he rose, 
until nightfall. I accompanied him, unseen, 
on those midnight walks against which 
his friends had protested so forcibly. I 
watched him give alms freely, speak kindly 
words to the distressed, and I watched other 
things a little more tensely, understanding 
what lay behind them. There was a young 
girl, very beautiful, with great dark eyes and 
an appealing face, who stopped him one 
night with some pitiful story. She was 
limping, and she pointed continually to her 
foot. Lutarde called the fiacre which she 
indicated. She leaned her fingers upon his 
arm. I was close enough to see the pressure 
of them, to note the subtlety of her upward 
glances. He handed her to the cab. I heard 
her pleading words. She was so lonely. 
If monsieur would drive with her a little way ! 
But Lutarde shook his head gravely. He 
paid the taxi-cab man a fare which surprised 
him, lifted his hat courteously, and walked 
away. I saw the change in the girl's face as 
he disappeared. That was just one of his 
escapes. We had a more exciting few 
minutes one night when he insisted upon 
walking home from the Quai d'Orsay. I 
saw the four dark, silent figures gliding 
together, two of them in front of him and 
two behind, and I saw the waiting motor-car 
at the corner of the street. Prudence led me 
to anticipate their action, whatever it might 
be. When they heard the spit of bullets 
against the wall, they took to their heels 
and ran. To the gendarme who came hurry- 
ing up, I had only to show my little badge of 
authority and he procured for us at once a 
taxi-cab. Lutarde, convinced now that his 
enemies were in earnest, yielded to my first 
proposition. I was installed in his house as 

We had three or four days of absolute 
quietude. Then the moment which we had 
been expecting arrived. It was about six 
o'clock in the evening, and I was seated 
in M. Lutarde's study, copying some letters 
at a desk and posing as his secretary. 
A servant brought in a note, which the 
Minister read hastily and passed to me. It 
was written on British Foreign Office note- 
paper and signed by a very important 
personage. The gist of it was contained in 
these lines : — 

The bearer can be altogether trusted. 
He brings you a verbal message of great 
importance. You mil farther our mutual 
interests if you give it your most serious 

" This, at any rate, is genuine," M. Lutarde 


274 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

" It would appear so," I admitted. 

" You can show the bearer in," the Minister 
ordered, addressing his servant. 

It was a mere chance which led me to 
retire to what M. Lutarde was pleased to call 
my spy-hole. Notwithstanding my disguise, 
it was perhaps as well that I did so, for, 
to my amazement, it was Janet who was 
presently ushered in. M. Lutarde rose to 
his feet in some surprise. 

" You are the bearer of this letter, 
madame ? " he queried, touching it with his 

44 In a sense I am not," she replied, taking 
the chair to which he pointed, and leaning 
a little over his desk. " It is my husband 
who should have come. He would have 
waited upon you and brought the letter and 
message to which this note refers, but he 
was attacked last night by an old complaint 
of his — sciatica — and he is absolutely unable 
to move. He asked me to hasten to you, 
and to beg that under the circumstances 
you would do him the honour to come to 
the hotel. He is ashamed to have to ask 
you, but the doctor who is with him now 
absolutely forbids him to stand up. I have 
here his certificate." 

44 I will come without delay, madame," 
Lutarde promised, waving away the half- 
sheet of notepaper which she had tendered. 

44 I came in a taxi-cab — it is waiting," she 
continued. " You doubtless would prefer 
your own car ? " 

" It is no matter," lie answered. " At 
which hotel do you stay ? " 

44 The Hotel Napoleon in the Rue Tran- 
chard," she replied. 

The Minister started. I, too, received a 
shock, for the district was the most notorious 
in Paris. 

44 My dear madame," he protested, " the 
neighbourhood of the Rue Tranchard is 
certainly not a fit place for you and " 

44 That is what distressed my husband so 
much in having to ask you to go to him," 
she interrupted. 44 It was the particular 
desire of the person on whose behalf he has 
come that his presence in Paris should not 
l>e known, and my husband deliberately 
chose this hotel, where he sometimes stayed 
when engaged on Secret Service work during 
the war. He desired me to say that, if 
you preferred not to risk being seen in such 
a locality, he would endeavour to procure 
an ambulance- car from the hospital and come 

' 4 Such a thing would be unheard of," 
Lutarde protested. " I will come with you, 
of course." 

He touched the bell. 

44 Show this lady back into the taxi-cab 
which is waiting," he instructed the servant. 
44 Afterwards, fetch my coat and hat at once." 

Digitized by CTUOgiC 

Janet passed quite close to me on her way 
to the door. She was her old self — quiet, 
impassive, deliberate. There was not the 
slightest sign of satisfaction in her face that 
she had so far succeeded in her mission. 
She was just the anxious wife performing a 
necessary duty for her husband. I emerged 
from my hiding-place as soon as she was 
safely out of the way. 

44 Well ? " my temporary Chief asked, 
looking across at me. 

44 The moment has arrived," I answered. 

M. Lutarde, who by nature was one of the 
most unsuspicious men that ever breathed, 
looked positively aghast. 

" You suggest that the woman is an 
impostor ? " he exclaimed. 

44 She is the wife of a well-known English 
criminal," I declared. " Her story was 
plausible*, but very improbable What about 
the letter that she brought ? " 

M. Lutarde searched his table. I watched 
him grimly. 

44 You will not find it," I told him. 4 I 
saw her pick it up as she passed." 

44 What shall we do ? " he asked. 

44 Keep her waiting for a few minutes, 
and then go to the address she gave you, 
but nowhere else," I decided. " I am going 
to telephone to Ennison, and I shall be there 
before you. If we see this thing through, 
we may find out who is at the bottom of it. 
I will see that you run no risk." 

44 I have no fear," M. Lutarde asserted, 

44 I referred only to your reputation," I 
assured him. 

THE two drove off together after a brief 
delay. Ennison, to whom I had tele- 
phoned, picked me up almost immedi- 
ately in his car. We made one more 
brief call, and reached the hotel as the 
taxi-cab containing M. Lutarde and his 
companion was turning into the other end 
of the long street. The proprietress, from 
behind the glass windows of her bureau, 
eyed us a little suspiciously as we entered. 
I engaged her in confidential conversation, 
however, respecting a suite, and she did not 
even notice the three or four men who had 
followed us at intervals into the hotel and 
who disappeared in various directions. 
Presently 1 heard the taxi-cab stop. I made 
an excuse and we hurried into the salle a 
manger. Janet, followed by M. Lutarde, who, 
although he had taken off his hat, held it in 
front of his face, crossed the floor swiftly 
towards the lift. Madame held out her key, 
which Janet accepted with a little nod. 
They passed into the lift and we heard it 
ascend. I returned to the bureau. I allowed 
myself to show much interest. 
" But surely, madame/' I whispered, 4 that 


Ev Phillips Oppenheim 


was Monsieur Lutarde, the great statesman, 
who entered with the lady ? " 

Madame smiled at us knowingly. 

*• In effect it is he," she admitted. 
•• Madame is the wife of an old client, an 
American gentleman who left this evening 
for London." 

" A love affair ? " I queried, under my 

Madame shrugged her shoulders. Her 
glance was eloquent. 

" What can one do ? " she murmured. 
'* Only I hope that monsieur will never dis- 
cover. He has a violent temper Ah ! 

The merciful heavens ! It is monsieur him- 
self who returns ! Now there has tragedy 
arrived indeed ! " 

Into the hotel, with his coat-tails flying 
behind him, came a man who for long I did 
not recognize. I myself had stepped back 
out of sight, and I watched the scene. The 
new-comer acted his part well. 

" My key, madame ! " he shouted, banging 
his fist against the counter. 

Madame pretended to search for it. She, 
too, had been schooled in her part. So had 
the guests who, with a little crowd of 
journalists, came closing around. 

" But I have it not, monsieur," the woman 
faltered. " Madame herself " 

The new-comer strode towards the lift, 
which I imagine was wilfully delayed. He 
shook the gates and pressed the bell 
furiously. Madame leaned over the counter. 

" But what ails monsieur ? "she demanded. 

" What ails me ? " he replied at the top 
of his voice, speaking now in broken French, 
now in English with an American accent. 
11 I tell you that not three minutes ago I 
saw my wife enter this hotel with a man — 
she who saw me off, as she thought, at the 
Gare du Nord not an hour ago ! A curse 
upon your lift, madame ! This is a plot ! " 

• 4 But, monsieur " Madame faltered. 

" Hell ! " the outraged husband inter- 
rupted angrily. 

HE turned and ran for the stairs, followed 
by a little crowd amongst whom I easily 
escaped detection. We reached the 
second floor. The man who now, to my 
amazement, I realized must be Stanfield, 
was banging at the panels of a closed door, 
and shouting. 

" It is locked ! " he cried. " I knew it ! 
Locked ! Open, Suzanne ! You gain nothing 
by this. I come if I blow the hotel about 
your ears ! " 

The door opened A few of us were 
almost pushed in. Janet, with her face 
buried in her hands, turned away. M. 
Lutarde, not wholly at his ease, stood there 
with folded arms. 

" Who are vou, sir, and what are vou 

doing in my salon?" Stanfield demanded, 

" I am here at your wife's bidding to 
receive a message which she assures me that 
her husband has brought from London," 
Lutarde replied. 

4t It is a He ! " Stanfield shouted. " I am 
her husband and I know nothing of you. It 
is years since my wife was in London. 
These are subterfuges. Tell the truth, 
woman ? " 

Janet threw herself upon the couch and hid 
her face. 

" He is your lover ? " Stanfield insisted. 

" I could not help it," Janet sobbed. 
" You have been so cruel lately. Why did 
you come back ? " 

There was a little murmur amongst the 
curious crowd in the background. A thin, 
dark man with pince-nez, obviously a 
journalist, was on the point of stealing away. 
The time had come for action. I disen- 
tangled myself from the group. Stanfield 
looked into the muzzle of mv automatic. 

" Hands up, Stanfield ! " I ordered. " Close 
in behind, Ennison. Pass the word down 
to bolt the doors of the hotel." 

I had once come to the conclusion that, no 
matter how long our duel might continue, I 
should never see a sign of feeling in my 
enemy's face. Through his wonderful dis- 
guise, however, the real man at this moment 
leaped out. He stood staring at me, viciously, 
yet with the half-fascinated amazement of 
one who looks upon a new thing in life. 
Janet was crouching back upon the couch, 
shrinking away from me as far as possible, 
her fingers tearing to pieces some shred of 
antimacassar. Suddenly she sprang like a 
cat between her husband and me. He saw 
his chance and leaped for the door. The 
crowd of stupefied people opened as though 
by magic to let him pass. I lowered my 
pistol and shouted a warning at the top of 
my voice. There was the sound of a shot 
below and the trampling of many feet. . A 
grey-haired, well-dressed man with a red 
ribbon in his buttonhole, whom I afterwards 
discovered to be the editor of a leading 
journal, pushed his way through. 

" Monsieur," he said to me, " is there any 
answer to this riddle ? " 

,4 You will find it below," I answered 
shortly. " There has been a plot to com- 
promise the personal honour of Monsieur 
Lutarde here, which you have seen frustrated. 
The injured husband is an English criminal. 
His wife " — I hesitated — "his accom- 
plice. Monsieur Lutarde has never seen 
either of them before in his life. You 
journalists were invited here to witness 
something different. If I may be allowed to 
say so, you will do well to give what pledges 
mav be required of you. The hotel at the 


2 7 6 The Sinister Quest of Norman Greyes 

Hands up, Stanfield ! ' I ordered. * Cloie in behind, 

present moment is in the hands of agents ol 
l he French Government/' 

There was a little murmur, 

11 Might one inquire your name, sir ? " my 
« j uestioner demanded , 

"My name is Norman Greyes," I an- 
swered, " I was once an English detective. 
I am now in the employ of the English 

The man bowed low. 

" The affair is explained, sir," he said. 

The curious crowd of onlookers melted 
away. Downstairs, behind the locked doors, 
■in inquisition was being held. M. Lit t aide 
came over and shook me by the hand, 

"My thanks later. Sir Norman/' he 
began. " Meanwhile- *" 

Ennison entered, accompanied by M. 
Lutarde's private secretary and a ix i rsonagc 
whom I recognized as a high official of the 
French Court. There was a great deal of 
rapid conversation between the four, a 
mingled outpouring of congratulations ant I 
wonder. Then we all moved towards the 
door. I touched Ennison on the arm. 

'* What atx>ut Stan field ? " I inquired, 

" Escaped for the moment," was the 
reluctant admission. " lie got through the 
back premises of the hotel, somehow," 

*' Escaped 1 " Janet murmured, in enig- 
matic accents, 

They were filing out of the room. I was 
the last. Janet rose to her feet. She stood 
there looking at me. 

What happens to me ? " she asked. 

' l There is no charge against you that I am 
aware of," I replied. 

She came a step nearer. 

" I am afraid/' she muttered. " They 
will say that it was my fault/' 

Ennison was already out of the room, 
leaving the door k however t wide open The 
woman and 1 were alone, 

i+ I am afraid/' she repeated, and she came 
still a step nearer. 

Below, the hotel was in a turmoil, I was 
suddenly sick of the whole business, a sordid 
piece of chicanery. 

" You descend the ladder, p * I said. " I 
scarcely believed that you would stoop to 
an intrigue of this sort." 

"We needed the monej^," she declared 
hardly. "He had spent everything, and I 
had only what I earned as a dressmaker. 
The people who stood behind this affair were 
generous. It would all have been so easy 
and so safe if you had not interfered. 1 
begin to think that you are my evil genius, 
Norman Greyes/ 1 

I heard myself called from below. I took 
a last glance at her. Her beautiful body 
was drawn to its utmost height. She was 
breathing quickly, as though with some sup- 
pressed emotion. The danger-lights were 
gleaming in her strange-colovired eyes, For 
a single moment temptation raged within me. 
Then I remembered. 

'" If you need monev to get von back 

to En *n^tTOMifflfe^ n ' o,,p,y to 

E. PhiHips Oppenheim 


Ennison. Pass the word down to bolt the doors of the hotel 

the British Consul. 1 will arrange it for 

" I may not come to you — for it ? ,p 

" No! J ' 

I heard Ennison *s returning footsteps upon 
the stairs, I turned away and closed the 
door behind me. 

M Everything O.K./' Ennison declared, 
triumphantly. "Our friends have made 
quite a coup/ 1 

II Any further news of the outraged hus- 
band ? " I asked. 

** I'm afraid he's got clean away/* Ennison 
confessed. '* Our people declare that he was 
helped by the police. Come on, old fellow, 
my car's waiting, and we're going to have 
an absinthe at the C^ife de la Paix." 

A QUARTER of an hour later we sat 
amongst the most cosmopolitan crowd 
in the world , outride the Caf6 de la 
Paix, sipping our absinthe and watching the 

** A very successful evening's work/ 1 
Ennison declared, thoughtfully. 

" So far as it goes/' I acquiesced. " After 
all, though, a man with so many enemies 
can never be held altogether free from 

" We have gone to-night farther than you 
think," my companion assured me. ' The 

agents of the French Government who were 
with us extracted confessions from the hotel 
proprietor and his wife, amongst others, 
which implicate some very well-known people, 
I need not explain further to you, I am sure. 
You can rely upon one thing for certain, 
however. From this evening Monsieur 
Lutarde is free from the danger of any 
attempt upon either his life or his honour/* 

11 In that case/* t agreed, * our work has 
indeed been well done/* 

We drank our absinthe in great content. 
Many months afterwards, a curiously in* 
significant episode of those next few minutes 
was brought forcibly to my mind. Near us, 
a very precise and elderly man; carefully 
dressed, with* a red ribbon in his buttonhole 
and a stiff, official bearing, raised his hat 
to Ennison as he passed lis. My companion 
returned his salute, and I watched his 
dignified wandering amongst the chairs until 
he found one to his liking. The waiter, 
seeing him approach, bowed low, and hurried 
away without waiting for his spoken order. 

" Who was that ? *' I inquired, curiously. 

" An insurance agent in the Rue Scribe," 
Ennison replied. " His name, I think, is 
Gaston Lefevre/' 

" A type/* I observed. 

' There are many here/" my companion 

(Another thrilling story in this series milt appear next month.) 

v^h f^ru^nlr Originalfronn 


2 7 8 

PERPLEXITIES. By Henry E. Dudeney. 


Here is a simple question that 
will require just a few moments' 
thought to get an exact answer. 
I have a piece of cheese in the 
shape of a cube. How am I to 
cut it in two pieces with one 
straight cut of the knife so that 
the two new surfaces produced 
by the cut shall each be a per- 
fect hexagon ? Of course, if cut in the direction of 
the dotted line the surfaces would be squares. Now 

produce hexagons. 

A meeting of the Amalgamated Society of Itinerant 
Askers (better known as the " Tramps' Union ") was 
held to decide whether the members should strike for 
reduced hours and larger donations. It was arranged 
that during the count those in favour of the motion 
should remain standing, and those who voted against 
should sit down. 

" Gentlemen," said the chairman in due cour>e, " I 
have the pleasure to announce that the motion is 
carried by a majority equal to exactly a quarter of the 
opposition." (Loud cheert.) 

" Excuse me, guv'nor," shouted a man at the back, 
" but some of us over here couldn't sit down." 
- Why not ? " 

44 'Cause there ain't enough chairs." 
44 Then perhaps those who wanted to sit down but 
couldn't will hold up their hands. ... I find there are 
a dozen of you, so the motion is lost by a majority of 
one." (Hisses and disorder.) 

Now, how many members voted at that meeting ? 

The puzzle-game (No. 575) that I gave in our issue 
for November last seems to have interested a great 

many readers. A 
number of corres- 
pondents h a d 
played it in their 
youth, and it 
appears to be also 
known in various 
parts of Euro|K* 
by the names 
u Wolf and Sheep " 
and " Hare and 
Hounds." Curi- 
osity is expressed 
as to the more 
ancient form of the 
game to which I 
referred, so I redeem my promise to give it. The 
illustration shows the form in which the board is 
set out in Strutt's 4 * Sports and Pastimes," and it 
reminds one of Solitaire. The seventeen white 
counters are Geese and the black one is the Fox. The 
two players play alternately, one counter at a time. 
and the Geese move first. The Fox cannot betaken, 
but he may take a Goose if he can jump over it to a 
vacant square next beyond, as in draughts. The 
object of the Geese is to shut up the Fox so that he 
cannot move, when they win. If the Geese are all 
taken, or their number so reduced that they cannot 
enclose the Fox, then the Fox wins. Of course, the 
pieces move only along the lines from one point to an 
adjacent one. Now, can a wily Fox defeat the Gee>e ? 

My name declares my date to be 

The morning of a Christian year. 
Tin motherless, as all agree, 

And yet a mother am, 'tis clear ; 
A father, too, which none dispute, 
And, v hen my son comes, I'm a fruit. 
And, not to puzzle you too much, 
Twas I took Holland for the Dutch. 

A number is formed of five successive digits (not 
necessarily in regular order) so that the number 
formed by the first two multiplied by the central 
digit will produce the number expressed by the last 
two. Thus, if it were 1 2896, then 12 multiplied by 
8 produces 96. But unfortunately 1, 2, 6, 8, 9 are not 
successive numbers, so it will not do. 

Solutions to Last MontVs Puzzles. 


1 # 

M * • 





• • 
• 1 
« # 






The illustration shows how the two additional square 
frames may be constructed, the pips in one adding up 
12 on every side, and in the other 18. 

l*ox cieien 

The time is 6f minutes past 9, when the hour hand 
is 45 9- 1 6 minutes past XII. Then 45 9-16 is the 

square of 6}. 

The answer is a lady on horseback — side-saddle, of 


We find the age of the monkey works out at 1} years, 
and the age of the mother 2 J years, the monkey theie- 
fore weighing 2 Jib., and the weight the same. Then 
we soon discover that the rope weighed ijlb., or 
20 oz. ; and, as a foot weighed 40Z., the length of the 
rope was 5 feet. 

A large number of correspondents have sent me 
the undoiibtedlv correct solution to this enigma — 

BACH. If you 
B A C H tur n the cross 

round, you get suc- 
cessively B flat 
(treble clef), A 
(tenor clef), C (alto 
clef), and B natural 
(treble clef). InGer- 
man B flat is called 
" B " and B natural " II," making it read B A C II. 
As I have been familiar all my life with an organ fugue 
by C. P. Emmanuel Bach, based on the family name 
and beginning as in the illustration, it is curious that I 
could have overlooked the solution. 


g r m r 














r 1 11 ES 













- : 

^ Google 

Original from 



PACE 284.) 




IT seemed to 
Cecil West 
that every 
being she knew 
at Lilac Valley 
had chosen her 
train to go to 
New York ! 

On most morn- 
ings this wouldn't 
have mattered. 
Cecil would have 
enjoyed the nods 
and friendly 
looks. But to - 
day it was dif- 
ferent. She had 
thought, by 
starting late and 

taking a slow train which changed at 
Jamaica, to miss the - crowd," All these 
pleasant people, however, had good reasons 
for avoiding, or failing to catch, the favourite 
morning train. Very innocent, frank reasons 
they were ! Cecil felt guilty and sick as she 
agreed with Mrs. Ashe, who squeezed cosily 
into the seat at her side, sure of a welcome, 
Yes, it was a bore having so little time to 
shop f but some mornings there was a lot 
to do at home. You just couldn't tear 
yourself away ! 

" Where are you going first ? ** asked 
Molly Ashe, 

Cecil had expected this question, if not 
from Molly, then from some other woman, 
and she knew exactly to what point it was 
meant to lead. 

" Oh, I haven't quite made up my mind/' 
she fibbed. 

*' I was only thinking, if it was Wana- 
maker's, we might lunch together. It would 
be so nice/' explained Mrs, Ashe. 

" I'm dreadfully sorry, but — I'm lunching 
at a friend's house,'* Cecil excused herself. 

" Sad for me, not for you I ,J laughed 
Molly, "Anyone*! know ? " 

" I don't think so," Cecil answered, almost 
praying not to blush or stammer. Molly 
was the kindest creature on earth, but she 
v#$ ft ware that Laurance West was away 
for Jte week-end ; also that Cecil had been 
invited to go f and refused, Larry was 

Vol. I nii. -19. 




adorable, but he 
was twelve years 
older than Cecil, 
who had come to 
Long Island as a 
bride six months 
ago, with the re- 
putation of being 
a flirt. II Molly 
had looked mis- 
chievous, it might 
have meant more 
fibs for Cecil ; 
but apparently 
Mrs. Ashe had 
no naughty 
thoughts, Cecil 
inquired about 
the baby ; Molly 
caught up the 
subject as a soldier catches a shot flag; and 
the rest of the journey passed in peace. 

At the New York end, by adroitness Cecil 
contrived (or hoped she'd contrived) to lose 
all her friends in the crush. She sprinted 
for the line of taxis outside the station, and 
almost whispered " Grand Central/' lest 
Molly or someone might be at her back, 

*• That would have been the hmtt I " she 
sighed, If Molly Ashe or Ivy Innes had 
chirped l * Can't we share a taxi ? " Cecil 
would not have known what to say. 

But luck was with her — undeserved Ijick, 
She was off, and a backward flash of the eye 
found no familiar face. 

-At the station there was time to buy a 
book, but Cecil knew that not the most 
thrilling fiction ever printed could beguile 
her from realities. Her hot brain smouldered 
like the sealed pit of a mine on fire. 

She found a seat in the train, and glanced 
round anxiously. Thank Heaven, not a soul 
she had ever seen before ! 

There was no time for luncheon on board, 
but if there had been Cecil could not have 
touched food. She had taken no breakfast, 
except a cup of black coffee choked down to 
steady her nerves, and it would be after two 
o'clock before she reached Rivergrove Manor. 
But he would be waiting luncheon, and 
she must eat, or let him see how he had 
frightened her* That would please him too 
much I r , 

Original from 



The Chinese Cabinet 

At the small country station his motor 
was waiting, as he had stated that it 
would be. 

The car bowled smoothly along the winding 
road, then wheeled through an open gateway. 
The place deserved its name of " River- 
grove." The avenue was lined with shrubs 
in scented bloom. How the fragrance 
struck at Cecil's heart ! It was so sweet — 
sweet as sad music. It sent a tingle of love 
for far-off Larry through her veins. She 
longed to be with him, to lie in his arms, 
sobbing " I want you to comfort me ! " and 
to hear Larry say (as he did say when she 
was in some small trouble), *' Little girl, tell 
me all about it. There, it's going to be all 

But she could not tell him of this trouble, 
and if he found out, things between them 
would never again be " all right." Cecil 
was sure of that, because Larry detested 
Kingsley Blake. He had obviously hated 
her acquaintance with Blake when she was 
Cecil Stainforth ; and it had irked him 
beyond endurance to know that he had no 
right to object. She had believed — and 
believed to this day — that Larry . would 
never have torn himself out of bachelorhood 
if he hadn't been impelled to snatch her 
from * the Strong Man," as Kingsley Blake 
was called by his friends. One night at a 
ball, when Blake had seemed to delight in 
making Miss Stainforth conspicuous, Larry 
had lost his head in a thrilling way, begged 
her to cut Blake, and on top of that had 
proposed. Cecil had never dared hope that 
he would do that ! She had been in love 
with Larry for months, and her fear that he 
didn't care — or didn't care enough— added 
to money-troubles, and girl-worries of all 
sorts, had been wearing her nerves to rags, 
till that wonderful night. 

SHE slipped nervously into the dusk of 
the great hall as a Japanese butler 
opened the door. 

" Mrs. West ? Mr. Blake is in the library, 
madam, waiting for you," the little dark 
man announced, in correct, metallic English ; 
and threw open another door opposite the 

Cecil hesitated. She vaguely dreaded 
some trick. She loathed the idea of being 
shut up with Blake in his own special 
sanctum. But she had come to his house. 
It would be foolish and futile to make a fuss 
now that she was here. With a lift of her 
chin, and an effort at dignity, the girl — 
childishly slim in meek blue serge — stepped 
across the threshold. Instantly, softly, the 
door closed, and Cecil stopped dead. Kingsley 
Blake sat smiling at her, in a wheeled 

" Forgive my not getting up to welcome 

igitized by Ci OO 5 le 

you," spoke the remembered voice which 
Cecil heard often in troubled dreams. " My 
misfortune, not my fault ! Now you see 
why I had to bring you so far." 

Words would not come. Cecil was com- 
pletely taken aback. Perhaps this was part 
of the trick her instinct awaited ! 

It was grotesque to see that gladiator- 
form in" smart modern dress prone in a 
chair made to support weakness ; yet Blake 
was formidable as he sat, quite motionless, 
his big hands pallid on the arms of the 
wheeled chair. 

Somebody had described him once : 
" Head of a statesman, eyes of a cynic, nose 
of a financier, mouth of a voluptuary, chin 
of a prize-fighter." Cecil remembered that 
saying, as she stared down at Kingslej 
Blake, and he stared up at her. 

"Is it a joke, or — have you had an 
accident ? " she stammered, when her voice 
came back. 

" Both," he answered, with a wry smile. 
" An accident of Fate : a joke the jade has 
played on me. I thought I was Samson. 
My doctor warned me last year that I wasn't 
— that I'd passed the age for stunts. But 
showing off my strength has been the last 
of the vanities for me. I strained my heart 
a month ago — a bad strain. Are you glad 
the old lion's claws are cut — or does the sight 
of me like this wake some human sympathy 
in your hard little heart ? If it does, toddle 
across that half mile of rug and shake hands/' 

Warily, Cecil obeyed, and gave him a small 
brown glove. He pressed it painfully, but 
when she tried to pull the hand away he 
surprised her by letting it go. 

M Are you afraid of the wounded lion ? " 
he jeered. " Don't be. He didn't summon 
you to his den to tear you to pieces." 

••I'm not afraid ! " the girl protested. 
•■ I — needn't have come if I had been 
afraid " 

" Or, you needn't have come if you hadn't 
been. Isn't that the frank way to put it ? " 

To escape his eyes, Cecil looked down at 
the glove which she had begun to pull off, 
hoping to hide the trembling of her hands. 
" I came," she explained, " because your 
letter said that, if I did what you asked, you 
would do ' something to make me glad.' 
There's only one thing you can do to make 
me glad. And so " 

*' So here you are — to get it ! Good. 
Now we've reached an understanding on that 
point ! But we'd better put off our dis- 
cussion of the thing itself till after food, 
don't you think so ? " 

Blake touched an electric bell close to his 
hand on a desk. Almost instantly the 
Japanese butler opened the door. 

* Luncheon is served, sir," he announced ; 
and motioning Cecil to precede him, Blake 


C, N. and A, M. Williamson 


began to wheel his arm-chair out of the vast 

Even now Cecil could hardly believe that 
the man wasn't acting a part. She would 
not have believed, if his face — once ruddy- 
brown from forehead to chin— had not faded 
to a dull yellow. It dazed her to see the 
giant breaking himself to invalid habits. 
But she could not pity him, because she 

and year I made you drink that evening 
when I'd persuaded you to dine at my flat 
and tell me all about your money troubles/ 1 
he recalled, " The wine did you tt lot of 
good then, though you thought it wouldn't, 
and I'm sure it would now if you'd try. 
That was the night before you wrote me the 
first of those six sweet, grateful little letters 
Fve treasured so, ever since " 

■AtH m 
Hu Fin rl Mm 




■ ■ % fit 

i \ < 

;f # 

j / ft;.; V 

_-, . iiiiteSv' j 4 < 1. _-i . 


She found a seal and glanced round anxiously, Thank Heaven, nol a soul she had 

ever seen before! 

feared this new Kingsley Blake even more 
than she had feared the old one. She felt as 
if an implacable enemy had dodged behind 
a hospital screen. 

He insisted that she must eat something 
of every course, assuring the girl each time 
that he had chosen the thing especially for 
her, knowing how she liked it. 

With these friendly allusions he mingled 
anecdotes of past days, when little Cecil 
Stainforth had been trapped into all sorts of 
foolishness by the admiration of a set richer 
and more sophisticated than her own. " Do 
you remember this ? " " Have you for- 
gotten that ? " he persisted, sharply prodding 
her reluctance with hints calculated to excite 
even Japanese interest. 

' This champagne's of the same brand 

It was all that Cecil could do to sit still, 
instead of springing up and rushing out of 
the room. But she controlled herself as a 
woman, half fainting, clings to consciousness. 
1 You said before lunch that it would be 
better to speak of these things later/' she 
desperately reminded Blake, * I— I think 
you were right. It would be much better." 

*" Oh then you've changed your mind ? " 
he asked, innocently. " I understood that 
you wanted to save time. Well, let's dig 
up another subject ! What are you most 
interested in these days ? Home and hus- 
band ? By the by, I've often wondered just 
when you did get engaged," 

" It was at Susan Heming's ball/ 1 Cecil 
girded herself to answer, 

"Oh, SQJrf^a^feilift I I remember the 



The Chinese Cabinet 

night well. You were — rather displeased 
with me." 

** That's one way of expressing it." 

44 H'm ! Yes. I had a certain difficulty 
in getting you to cut a dance you promised 
West. But you did cut it. I took you into 
Susan's Marie Antoinette Fan Room, to sit 
out and discuss things. West came nosing 
round — though really he was no more of a 
dancing man than I was — and found us 

44 Yes." 

" He whisked you away like a flash, and 
left explanations for later ? " 

" He didn't ask me to explain, and I 
didn't try to explain. It's not worth while 
to talk of it now ! " 

" It interests me, especially as you confess 
you were engaged to Larry that night. But 
never mind, if the confidences are too 
sacred ! Well, you ought to thank me, my 
child, for bringing your romance about. 
Larry wasn't what's called a marrying man. 
And, I suppose, when the little princess had 
been soothed and caressed, she promised 
never to put herself within long-distance 
call of the poor old dragon again ? " 

" I promised never to — speak to you 
again if I could help it — without making 
myself conspicuous," Cecil admitted. 

Blake laughed sdoud. " By Jingo, that 
hits my sense of humour ! " he roared. 
' And if the dear Larry hears about — to-day, 
I suppose it'll be the occasion when you 
couldrit help speaking — ' without being con- 
spicuous.' " 

' He won't hear about it," the girl gasped, 
' unless he hears through you. And even 
you wouldn't be wicked enough — cruel 
enough — to tell, after — almost forcing me 
to come here ! " 

THE blood stung her cheeks. She had 
forgotten the two Japanese servants 
whose shadowy presence had shamed 
her at first. As she sprang to her feet, one 
of the men caught her chair before it fell, 
but Blake, smiling, covered the incident. 

" Yes, we'll have our coffee now — in the 
library," he said. " Larry hasn't trained 
you to stand teasing any better than you 
used to, I'm afraid. But don't worry, my 
dear child. I vow I won't tell your husband 
that you kindly accepted an invitation to 
visit an invalid friend. I invariably keep 
my vows — in one way, if I can't in another. 
Now, come along ! We must have our 
quiet chat, if you're really bound to catch 
that four o'clock train." 

" Now," Blake said, when the door had 
shut them in, " you can tell me what bribe 
you thought I meant to offer for this after 
noon call." 

" There's only one thing you can have 

Digitized by LiOOgJC 

meant," the girl flung back. '* One thing, 
unless you brought me here on false pre- 
tences. I thought you would make me 
glad ' by giving me — at last ! — those wretched 
letters. Please, don't torment me any more. 
Give me the letters — or let me read each one 
to make sure all six are there, and burn 
them " 

Blake shook his head slowly as he set 
down his coffee-cup. * 4 I didn't bring you 
to Rivergrove, my dear, with the intention 
of giving you the letters." 

Cecil jumped up with a strangled cry. 
' Oh ! " she choked, and could find no word 
for the fury in her heart. 

' Don't turn me to stone," Blake laughed. 

You'd never get your letters if you did. 
If you don't, you may ; who knows ? " 

" I want my letters," the girl panted. 

" Then you don't trust me?" 

' Why should I, when you've deceived me 
worse than before ? You know I wouldn't 
have come except for the letters. Nothing 
else on earth would have tempted me. 
I " 

" Don't be too sure. And — Cecil — don't 
condemn me unheard/' The man's voice 
altered. • Yes, I let you think you would 
get the letters : I wanted to see you — for 
the last time. That was the only way, 
unless I whined and told you I was doomed. 
And if I had. perhaps you wouldn't have 
come ! I loved you, Cecil, in those days 
when you accused me of playing with you 
as a cat plays with a mouse. God ! 'Twas 
worse for the cat than for the mouse ! I 
wanted you so — I'd have married you, if 
my wife would have come from Europe and 
divorced me — or if she'd given me half a 
chance at divorcing her. The reward I 
really meant for you to-day is this : to tell 
you that now I'm under sentence of death 
I intend to make a new will and leave you a 

Cecil burst into tears. 

" I don't want a legacy ! " she cried. 
'• And I don't want you to die. I'm not — - 
not so hard as that. But I'd hate to have 
you leave me anything. Even the letters, 
if they came after you — if they came in that 
way, might do harm, not good. People — 
Larry — would know, and — and— oh, it was 
you who told me how those letters could be 
misunderstood ! You told me that night 
at Susan Heming's, before Larry took me 
away. You said that no one who read 
them would believe me just the silly, inno- 
cent, ignorant girl I truly was. Larry loves 
me, but — if he read the letters he'd mis- 
understand. I know he would ! Though I 
told him the truth and he — thought he 
believed, he'd never be quite sure. You 
see, he couldn't bear — he didn't like you. 
He used to know Mrs. Blake, and I promised. 


C. N. and A. M. Williamson 


I've broken^ my promise now. He would 
not trust me again. Oh, I couldn't live ! " 
She buried her face in her hands and sobbed. 

Blake stared broodingly at the smart 
little hat on the bowed head. I% You love 
West so much ? " he asked. 

" Yes, I do ! " the girl wept. " I adored 
the ground he walked on, even when I 
thought he didn't care. It's — not very 
clever of me to tell you that, but " 

' Don't worry. What you've told me 
will make no difference in the legacy. More 
than ever *' — he spoke slowly — " my mind 
is fixed on that. If — among other things — 
I leave you those six letters in their one 
envelope (that's how I keep them, and take 
them out to read now and then), I'll manage 
thfe gift in such a way that West won't get 
hold of the dangerous documents. At 
least, he won't if he's the honourable man 
you think* he is. I'd like to leave you 
money, Cecil, to remember me by ; but, for 
* your own sake, I daren't do that. Also, I 
hope you don't need money as you once did. 
West's not a rich man, but I don't doubt he 
can give you bread and cheese — with his 
losses. No. , What suggested itself to me 
was some— valuable antique. Something 
which would last for ever ; a piece of furni- 
ture ; for instance — look over there. You 
see that green lacquer Chinese cabinet ? " 

"Yes," Cecil replied. 

" It's one of the best bits I own," Blake 
went on, faintly smiling. " Do you like 
Chinese lacquer ? Would you appreciate 
that cabinet if I— left it to you ? " 

" I — I don't know what you mean by 
4 appreciate ' ! " the girl stammered. " I 
know you mean somethings— more than you 
say. Are the letters " 

IJflake laughed again. " Don't look a gift 
horse in the mouth, my child ! There are 
people who would give many dollars to get 
that Chinese cabinet. They wouldn't haggle 
before offering a price, and inquire — for in- 
stance, whether there was a secret drawer, and 
what was in it. The thing's unique ! What 
I ask is : Do you want it as it stands — or shall 
it fall into the hands of — strangers ? " 

Cecil guessed what Blake's words con- 
cealed, or — what he meant her to think they 
concealed. If she could only be sure which ! 

" Make up your mind, my dear," he 
benevolently advised, " because — you know 
the adage, ' Welcome the coming, speed the 
parting guest.' I'd like nothing so well as 
to have you spend the afternoon, or even 
dine — and why shouldn't you, if the papers 
don't lie in saying that West's gone to Maine 
for the week-end ? But, if you're determined 
to catch the four o'clock train " 

Cecil jumped up with a cry of fear fulfilled. 
" Oh, you haven't let me miss it ! " she 
gasped. •' I felt — I knew you'd " 

Digitized by Google 

" You felt and knew wrong. I haven't let 
you miss the train. Au contraire. I ordered 
the car to be ready in case you insisted, and 
it'll be waiting for you now. But you ought 
to be off in two minutes if you don't want to 
cut things too fine." 

" Oh ! " exclaimed Cecil. " You waited 
till the last minute before you'd talk of the 
letters. I came for them — and I've got to 
go without " 

" One minute wasted," announced Blake, 
eyes upon the clock on his desk. ' You 
must trust me in the matter of those letters. 
There's just time to decide about the Chinese 
cabinet. Do you want it ? Have you a 
den or a boudoir of your own where you can 
keep it — to remember me ? " 

Cecil was at the door, and had grasped the 
knob. It turned under her hand. Involun- 
tarily she stepped back. The butler 
decorously appeared. Excuse me, sir," 
he began, " the chauffeur says if the lady 
wishes to catch the train " 

* Yes — yes ! I will have the cabinet," 
Cecil cried, and without a look or a word of 
good-bye she was gone. 

The girl almost tumbled into the grey 
limousine, which leapt away as the Japanese 
shut her in. There was no room in her 
beating brain for rage about the trick played 
on her — the letters dangled before her eyes, 
then snatched out of reach : no room for 
thankfulness that • she had escaped : heart 
and mind were too full of throbbing fears 
that she might lose the train. 

" You'll just do it, madam," said the 
chauffeur, as she hurled herself out of the 
car at the station while the train was 
thundering in. 

DAYS passed, softly and sweetly, at 
Lilac Valley. 

Larry came joyously back from 
the first visit he had made without her. He 
was dearer and more adorable than he had 
ever been. Cecil tried to believe that she 
was in no danger. Her secret visit to 
River grove Manor hadn't been quite in vain. 
Surely she might trust Blake, now that he 
was a doomed man, trust him not actually 
to betray ! And without doubt the letters 
were in a secret drawer of that Chinese 
cabinet. It would come to her in the end. 
She would find the drawer. At last she 
would have the letters. Meanwhile, she 
must keep her nerve and be like herself, or 
Larry would begin to wonder. 

By and by it became not so hard a struggle 
to have patience. A crust of calmness cooled 
about the hot lava of fear. Cecil slept 
better ; and one morning, three weeks after 
the dreadful day, Larry complimented her at 
breakfast on her colour. 

" You look like one of those roses in the 



The Chinese Cabinet 

garden, whatever you call 'em, that have 
pink tips to their white petals/' he said, as 
she handed him his creamed coffee. Then, 
after one long look, as if to photograph a 
vision for all day upon his retina, Larry 
applied himself to his correspondence. 

The pile by his plate .consisted entirely of 
business letters. Cecil knew this, because 
she had placed them there herself. Larry 
concentrated upon them now, and opened 
one after another with the swift pre